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A record of the 
1/5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment, T.F., 
during the War, 

C,Pa',N J. D. HILLS, 
M.C., Croix de Guerre. 

With an introduction by 
LT.-Co-oNE- C. H. JONES, 
C.M.G., T.D., Légion d'onneur (officier). 



who tas wa6hed over us and lived with us 
in all out losses and in all out joys, 
liais book is gratefully dedioeed. 


No liter.arv merit is claimed for this book. It is 
intended to be a diarv of our progress as a Battalion 
since mobilisation until the signing of peace, and the 
return of the Colours to Loughborough. I have 
written the first chapter, the remainder, incl.uding the 
maps, has been donc bv Captain J. 1). Hills. 
This is scarcelv the place to attempt an estimate of 
vhat the members of out Countv Territorial Force 
Association, individuallv and collectively, have done for 
the 5th Leicestershire Regiment. \Ve would merely 
place this on record, that there has ever been one keen 
feeling of bmtherhood unilin K us ail, from Presiden.t 
or Cairman, to the latest joined recruit or humblest 
member of the regiment, whether activelv engaged on 
the battlefield, or just as activeh" engaged at home. 
Never bas the Executive Cmmittee failed us. And 
to 5[ajor C M. Serjeantson, O.B.E., we would offer 
a special tribute for his untiring work, wondefful powers 
of organisation and grasp of detail, and hearty good 
fellowship at ail rimes. 
To the men of the regiment we hope that the incidents 
which we narrate here will recall great rimes we spent 
together, and serve as a framework on which to weave 
other stories too numerous for the short space of one 

Sept., r9r 9. 


THE following 1»arrative is based mainlv on the 
Regimental XYar Diarv. For the test, mv thanks are 
due to Lt.-Co,lo.nels C. H. Jones, C..I.G., T.I)., and 
J. Ll. Griffitbs, D.S.O., Major C. Bland, T.I)., Captains 
D. B. Petch, M.C., J. R. Brooke, M.C., and A. D. 
Pierrepont, and R.Q.M.S. R. Gorse, .I.S.M., for 
sending me ro,tes and anecdotes; to Captains G. E. 
Banwell, M.C., and C. S. Allen, Corpl. J. Lincoln, and 
L/Corpl. A. B. Law, for taking me round tbe battle- 
fields and explaining the Lens fighting of 1917; to 
2nd Lieut. G. H. Griffiths, for supplying me with many 
o.f th,e battle-field photographs; to ail officers, N.C.O.'s 
an.d men of the Bat-talion xxho have alxvays been ready 
t aJaswer my questions and to give me information; 
to Major D. Hill, M.C., Brigade Majo.r, for the 
o.f his Brigade documents; and la.tlv to Mr. Deakin of 
Loughbo.rough, for undertaking the publica.tion of this 
book and fo,r giving toit so much time and personal 
ea re. 
j. D. HILLS. 
16, SOMER5ET ST., 
LONDON, W. 1. 

Sekt., z99. 


6. THE VlMV RIDGE 106 
7. GOMECOUnT 127 
8. lkloNCHY AU BOIS 1[5 
10. LNs ......... 179 
11. HLL 65 ...... 196 
12. ST. ELIE LEFT 206 
l-'. CAMBRIN RIGHT .. 227 
16. PONTRUET 279 
lï. CnossiN Tan C«L 298 
19. THE LAST FIGHT ...... 35.9 
20. HOME A6Atn ......... 372 
1. OFFICERS, FEB., 1915 376 
Il. Horouns ......... 377 
III. THE CAon, 1919 ......... 379 


I. OFFICERS, 1914 (Frontispiece). 
l 1. POXTRt ET ... 
12. LIra'T. J. C. B_XRRETT, tJ.oE. - 






:]. ATT.Xt'K ON GO.XltXlECOURT, 1/7/16 
5. LENS i)ISTRICT ... 
6. AçT.«K oxl'oxTRCET, _/./'»4'9 18 ... 
7. ADV*XCE, 4./9/1S to 11/11/18 

... 2S6 
31t & 315 


4th Aug., 1914. 25t, h Feb., 1915. 
THE Territorial Force, foundcd in 1908, undoubtedlv 
attracted manv mon who had hot dcvoted themselves 
previously to militarv training, nevcrtheless it took 
character and tone from men wh.o had scen long service 
in the old Volunteer Force. Hence, those who created 
the Territorial Force did nothing more than re-organise, 
and build upon xxhat alreadv cxisted. In the 5th 
Leicestershire Regiment therc crossed with .us to France 
men who had over 30 vears' service. At the outbreak 
of war in 191t, R.O.M.S. Stimson could look back on 
36 vears of service, and, amongst other accomplish- 
ments he spoke French fluently. Other names that 
occur to us are Serit. Hcafield, with 28 years, and 
C.S.M. Hill with 16 years, both of Ashby, and both of 
whom served in the Volunteer Company in South 
A[rica. R.S.hl. Lovett (27 years), o.f Loughborough, 
also wears the South African medal for service in 
the same C,ompany. Th.en there ar.e Pioneer-Serit. 
Clav (27 years' service), C.S.M. Garratt, of Ashby, 
C.S.M. \\rade, of hIelton, R.O.M.S. Gorse, of Lough- 
bomugh, Signal-Serieant Diggle, of Hincklev--all long 
serwice men. The senior N.C.O. in Rutland xvas C.S.M. 
Kernick, v«ho had done 18 vears' service when war was 
The infantry of the 46th (North hlidland) Division 


"onsisted of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, the 
Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, and the Staffordshire 
Brigades. Our brigade, the 138th, was commanded at 
first bv General A. VV'. Taylor, who was succeeded a few 
days before we left England b» General 'VV. R. Clifford. 
Staff oflïcers changed freQuenfl), and we hope we did 
not break the hearts of too many. Staff-Captain J. E. 
,ïccars survived most of them, and we owe him much 
tor the able and vigorous assistance he was always 
ready cheerfullv to give us. 
The 5th Leicestershire was a County Battalion, 
organised in eight companies, with headquarters 
respectively at Ashb.,-de-la-Zouch, Oakham, Melton 
[owbra», HincMe., Market Harborough, Mountsorrel, 
Shepshed, and one at Regimental Headquarters at 
Loughborough. The OEmpanies thus were much 
cattered, and it was only at the annual training camps 
that we met as a battalion. 
The Territorial Force was better prepared for mobili- 
bation than is generally supposed, and if the historv of 
the assembl» of the regiment at Loughborough in the 
first week, their train joumey to Duflïeld in the second 
week, the purchase of horses, the collection of stores, 
the requisitions for food and the sharpening of bayonets, 
be demanded, it can be read in the orders printed manv 
mnths before war even threatened. The orders were 
drawn up bv Lt.-Colonel G. German, T.D., out former 
commanding oflïcer, now D.S.O., and by his conscien- 
tious and indefatigable adjurant, Captain "vV. G. King 
Peirce, who was killed early in the war fighting with his 
old regiment, the Manchesters. It is due to these 
officers to record-that everv detail was studiouslv fol- 
lowed and found exactlv correct. 'VVe heard of one 


ofiqcer who, at the time the printed book of orders was 
issued, xvas so fearful lest it should fall into the hands 
of some indiscreet or improper person, that he packed 
and scalcd it, addressed it to lais executors, and locked 
it .up in a sale, so that even sudden death on lais part 
would hot force him to betray lais trust. 
Of ail hard-worked people in the earlv davs itis 
possible that upon Major R. E. Martin fell the greatest 
share. Not onh did he sec that supplies were forth- 
coming, and that dealers delivered the goods expccted 
of them, but he set himself to design watcr-carts, and 
troughs-xater-feet-for-tlae-washing-of, and cunningly to 
adapt stock material to the better service and greater 
comfort of ail, manv of wbom were f'or the first time 
dragged from the civilities and luxuries of home lfe. 
At Loughborough from the 5th to the llth of August 
we did little more than pull ourselves together generall3, 
and enjoy the good will o.f the inhabitants, ied bv our 
firm friend, the oft-repeated Mayor, Mr. 5layo, J.P. 
It did hot demand much wit to foretell that sooner 
or later we shouid be asked to offer oursclves for service 
abroad. The question was put for the first rime on the 
1.3th of August, at Duflield. A rough estimate was 
ruade that at least 70 per cent. would cousent gladly 
and without furtlaer thought, aud of the others hesita- 
tion was caused in manv cases because men wondcred 
whether in view of their positions in civil lire they had 
the right to answer for themselves. It should be under- 
stood that a verv large number were skillcd men, and 
had joiued the home armv merelv because thev thought 
ita good thing to do. And because thev liked it, and 
knew it was a good thing to d.o, thev were content to 
accept humble places in a force forme-d for home service 


and home defence onlv. Also, at that stage it was hot 
perfectly certain that everyone would be wanted, and 
when the question of war service abroad was raised, 
and other men were not serving at ail, it is onh" natural 
that the thought passed through some men's minds that 
the appeal was hot for them. Vt'e think that the bat- 
talion might be congratulated upon the general spirit 
of willingness shown, especially as in the 17th August 
when the question was put again more definitely, the 
percentage of those readv to extend the terres of service 
was estimated at 90. 
There were other phases of this call for extension of 
service, too numerous to detail here ; for example, on one 
occasion we were asked to get six companies readv at 
once. This for a rime upset everything, for, as we 
bave said, the original eight companies were taken from 
different paris of the county, and there was a strong 
company comradcship, as well as a battalion unitv; and 
if six be taken out of eight il means omissions, 
amalgamations, grafts, and all sorts of disturbances. 
Vt'e left 1)uffield on the 15th of August, and marched 
to Derby Station. Out train was timed to start at 
11 p.m., and seeing that we arrived at Luton at '2 p.m. 
the next day, the rate of motion vas about 6 mlles an 
hour, hot too fast for a train. But the truth is we did 
hot start at 1] p.m., but spent hours standing in the 
cattle vard at Derby, while trucks and guns were being 
arranged to fit one another. As that was out first 
experience of such delay, the incident vas impressed 
upon out minds, and it counts one to the n.umber of bars 
we said out medal should bave. 
As in Loughborough, so in Luron, our billets were 
schools. There was one advantage about the Beech 


Hill Schools of Luton, namcly, that the wholc battalion 
could assemble in the big room, sit on the floor, and 
listen in comfort to words of instruction and advice. 
But day schools were not intended for lodging purposes, 
and here again was displayed Major Martin's skill in the 
erection of cookhouses and more wash-tubs and othcr 
domestic essentials. The m,oment we got settled, how- 
ever happened to coincide with the moment at which 
the educatioaq branch of the Town Coun¢il de/ermined 
that the future of a nation depended upon the cducation 
of ber children, and thus it came to pass that on the 
:.'Sth of August we moved out of the schools, and entered 
billets in \\'est Luton. 
The long rows of houses were admirablv suited to 
company billets. Occupiers dismantled the ground 
floor front and took in three, and generally four men at 
various rates. On the 2nd of October a universal rate 
of 9d. a dav each man was fixed. That ruade twentv- 
one shillings a week towards paying off a rent which 
would average at the most twelve shillings. The 
billets delighted us, and we hope the owners were as 
pleased. \Ve thank them and ail we met in those 
billeting times for their kind forbearance. 
The headquarters and billets of senior officers were at 
Cevlon Hall. The building was owned bv the Baptists, 
and we round their committee most willing and obliging. 
On one occasion thev lent us their chapel and organ for 
a Sunday service, and set their own service at a time to 
suit ours, when churches in the town could not help us. 
Altogether we were in Luron just 3 months training 
for war. To a great extent the training was on 
ordinarv lines. A routine was followed, and all routines 
bec*gme dull and wearisome. \Ve had been asked to go 


abroad, we had expressed our willingness to go. This 
willingness grew into a desire, which at intervals 
expressed itself in petulant words of longing--" Are 
we ever going to France?" The answer was always 
the saine: " You will go soon enough, and you will 
stav 1,ong enough." This increased our irritation. 
Suddenl.v, on one still and dark November day, parade 
was sharply cancellcd, we clad ourselves in full march- 
ing order, there was just a moment to scrawl on a post- 
tard a few last words borne, tender words were 
exchanged with our friends in the billets, and with heavy 
tread and in solemn silence we marched forth along 
the Bedford Road. There was a pillar box beside the 
voad. It was onlv the leading companles that could put 
the farewell card actuallv in the box, for it was quickly 
crowded out, and in the end the upper portion of the 
red pillar was visible standing on a conical pile of post- 
Never had a field day passed with,out some reference 
to the 16th milestone on the Bedford Road, but on this 
particular dav orders did hot even mention the mile- 
stone. This in itself vas sufficient to convince us that 
real war had at length begun. Long before the 16th 
milestone was sighted, we were diverted into a field, .o,ur 
kit was commented upon, and we marched back to the 
saine old billets. For convenience of reference this 
incident is entered in our diarv as the march to France 
along the Bedford Road, and no bar was awarded. The 
march formed a erisis in our history, for subsequent to 
it leave home was hot sought so eagerly. Positively 
the last words of farewell had been said, and it was 
difficult to devise o.ther forms of good-bye nearer the 
absolute uhimate with which to engage out home 


friends, who, to our credit be it said, vcre just as 
anxious as we were. 
It was about this tilne that out attention was drawn to 
the anomalv of the discharge rule. A man who had 
served for four vears could take his discharge as a time- 
expired soldier. At the saine time men were cnlisting 
freely. One young man of under œel was said to have 
claimed his discharge on the very dav that his grand- 
father, newly enlisted, entered upon three da»s' " CB." 
for coming on parade with dirtv boots. 
It was in Luron, too, that we overcame our distrust 
and dislike of vaccination and inoculation against 
typhoid. \Ve remember C.S.M. Lovett being inoculated 
in public to give a lead to others, and we smile 
now to think that in those davs it was power of 
character and leadcrship onlv that accomplished things, 
and incidentallv made the way smooth for a Govern- 
mcnt's compulsory bill. 
\Ve were inspected several times, in fact so often that 
the clause " \Ve are rcspected by everyone,'" which 
cornes in our regimental ditty--(and how could it hot ! !) 
--was given the alternative rendering "inspected." 
Twice his Majesty the King he.noured us with a visit, 
and in addition General Ian Hamilton, Lord Kitchener, 
and others. 
Regiments differ nmch ; each has its peculiarities. The 
5th Leicestershire a countv battalion, if in nothing 
else, excelled individually in xxork across country. 
Though all may hOt have been as clever as " Pat " 
Collins (G.A.), who acted as guide to the commanding 
officer for manv months--and we bave the commanding 
officer's permission to add " counsellor and friend "-- 
there was never anv difficulty in finding the way in the 


dav or at night. If we mav anticipate our early days 
in France, a few months hence, we can remember being 
occupied all one niChi in entricating parties of men who 
had lost their way hopelessly in open country in the 
dark. Those were men who came from a citv battalion, 
brought up amongst labelled thoroughfares, street 
lamps, and brilliantlv-illuminated shop windows. X.Ve 
practised night work at Luton, and all was easv and 
natural, though we added to out experiences, as on the 
night when in the thrilling silence of a nlght attack the 
fait chestnut bolted with the machine gun; and having 
kicked two men and lost his character, reverted to the 
tank of officer's charger. 
On a dav in October the whole division had entrenched 
itself in the vicinitv of Sharpenhoe and Sundon. To 
enliven the exercise night manœuvres were hastilv 
planned. Out share was to match at about 11 p.m., 
after a hard dav and hall a tea, and to continue march- 
ing through the m-ost intricate country until rive o'clock 
the next morning. At that time we were within charg- 
ing distance of the enemy, and dav was breaking. 
Filing through a railwav arch we wheeled into extended 
order and lav down till all were readv. \Vhen the 
advance was ordered, though we had lain down for two 
minutes only, the greater number were fast asleep. 
Despite this hitch the position was taken, and then a 
march home brought the exercise Io an end at 8.10 a.m. 
For this operation we voted a second bar to out medal. 
To those who knew ail the details of the plan the 
most brilliant feature was the wonderfullv accurate lead- 
ing of out Brigade Major, now Brigadier-General Alder- 
cron. He led us behind the advanced posts of the 
enemv and it was their second line that we attacked. 


Manv oflàcers were joining us. Since war had been 
declared, E. G. Langdale, R. C. L. Mould, C. R. 
Knighton, S. R. Pullinger, C. H. Vollaston, G. V. 
Allen, .]'. D. Hills, and R. .Vard-Jackson had all been 
added to out strength. Later came 1). B. Petch, 
R. B. Farrer, and J. Vyndham Tomson, of 
whom l'etch was straight frm school, and 
he, with the last two named, served a fortnight in 
France belote being gazetted. Their further careers 
tan be followed in later chapters with the exception, 
perhaps, of Hills, who himself writes those chapters. 
As lais service is a combination of details, manv of 
which are t.vpical of the young officer who fought in 
the earlv davs of the war, for general information we 
narrate so much. John David Hills, though not 
had alreadv seen six vears' service in his school O.T.C., 
including one vear as a Cadet Olcer. He surrendered 
lais Oxford Scholarship and what that might have meant 
in order to join up at once. He passed through the 
battalion from end to end, occupying at various rimes 
everv possible place : signalling olcer, intelligence 
ot'ficer, platoon commander, company commander, 
adjutant, :2nd in command, and finished up in command 
of what was called " the cadre." For some time, too, 
be was attached to the brigade staff, and when we add 
that he excelled in everv position separately and dis- 
tinçtly, and won the admiration and love of ail, we 
mav spare him further embarrassment and let the 
honours he bas won speak for bim. 
Çlothing was a lasting trouble. We were now 
wearing out out first suits, and from rime to rime there 
confronted us statements that sounded rather like 
weather reports, for example--" No trousers to-day; 


tunics plentiful." Then the question arose as to whether 
a man should wear a vest, and, if so, might he have 
two, one on the man, the other at the wash. Patient 
endurance was rewarded by an answer in the affirmative 
to the tirst part of the question, but the correspondence 
over the second portion has onlv just reached the 
armistice stage. 
And as with men, so with animais. " The waggon 
and horses " sounds beautifuilv complete as weil as 
highly- attractive, but in the armv we must hot forget 
to sec that harness cornes as wcli. And this, 
the lack of harness, carries us to another great event 
in out history, the end of the Luton day's, the match 
to \Vare. 
Vhv was the match to W.'tre planned cxactlv like 
that? It is hot in thc hope of getting an answer we 
ask the question. \Vaggons and horses and no harness, 
and whose fault? \\TaKgons and horses with harness, 
and carrying a double 1oad to make up,--no fault, a 
necessitv. Officers awav on leave,btlt let us set 
things doxn in order. Barcly a fortnight after the 
match to France along the Bedford Road, on Saturday', 
the ltth of November, a proportion of otïqcers and men 
went on leave as usual till Monday, and all was calm 
and still. .\t 1 a.m. on Monday, orders were received 
to more at î a.m., complete for \\'are, a di.stance, by 
the route set, of 23 to 30 miles,--some sav 50 to 100 
mlles. Ofl]cial clear-the-line telegrams were poured out 
recalling the leave takers. \'Vaggons were packed-- 
(were thev n6t packed !}--billets were cleared, and we 
toed the line at the correct rime. For want of harness, 
the four cooks' carts and two water carts were left 
behind; for want of time, meat was issued raw; for 


want of orders, no long halt was .ffiven at rnid-day. 
One short and sharp bit of hill on the wav was too 
rnuch for the horses, and such regirnental transport 
as xxe h:d with us had to be rnan-hmdled. This little 
diversion gave regirnents a choice of two systerns, gaps 
between re.giments, or g;ps bctween sections of the sarne 
regiment, and gave spectators, xxh.o had corne in con- 
siderable nurnbers, a subject for discussion. But the 
chier feature of the dv was that we reached VCare that 
dav as complete as we started. \Ve arrivcd at î-l p.m. 
except for two Çornpmies who were detached as rear 
guard to the I)ivision. The tail end of the Divisional 
train Iost touch and took the wrong turning, and for 
this reason the two Çornpan;es did hot corne in till 
11-:0 p.m. \Ve understand that the third bar on out 
rnedal will be the rnarch to VCare. 
Arnongst those who watched us pass near the half- 
xxav post xxe noticed out ncighbour, General Sir A. E. 
Codrington, then cornrnanding the London D;strict, who 
as m expericnced soldier knew the dit-ficnlties and gave 
us, as a regirnent, kindiv words of praise and 
V'e have often xvondered what was the verdict of 
the authorities upon th;s rnarch. As this is regirnental 
historv onl.v, it rnav be perrnitted to give the regirnent's 
opinion. "Ve fancied we accornplished pasing well 
an alrnost impossible task. It is true that hot long 
afterwards we were well fitted out and sent to France. 
\Ve are persuaded, too, to add here that we said we 
owed one thing at least to out Divisional Commander, 
General E. 3lontagu-Stuart-VCortley; we were the 
first cornplete Territorial Force Division to cross the 
seas and go into action as a Division against the Ger- 


mans. And it mav be that the whole Territorial Force 
owe to out General, too, that thev went in l)ivisions, 
and were hot sent piecemeal as some earlier battalions, 
and dovetailed into the Regular Army, or, perhaps, 
even into the New Arrnv. \Ve lire in the assurance that 
the confidence the Armv Council extended to us was hot 
Having rested a dav at \\'are, we marched to Bishops 
Stortford, where we cannot sav we were billeted neither 
can we use again the word test, for the town was over- 
crowded, and queues were formed up to billets; queues 
composed of all arms of the service, and infantrv did hot 
take the front place. Let us sav we were " stationed " 
there one weel« The week was enlivened bv strange 
rumour of German air attacks, and large patrols xere 
kept on the xxatch at night. 
On the 26th of November, the time of our life began 
when the regiment marched into billets at Sawbridge- 
xvorth. The town was built for one infantrv regiment 
and no more. The inhabitants were delightful, and 
we have heard, indirectly, more than once that thev 
were pleased with us. \Ve soon learnt to love the toxxn 
and all it contained, and we date hot sav that our love 
bas grown cold even now. The wedding bells bave 
alreadv rung for the regiment once at Sawbridgeworth, 
when Lieut. R. C. L. Mould married *Iiss Barrett, and 
we do hot knov that thev mav hot ring" again for a 
similar reason. In Sawbridgeworth, out vigorous adju- 
rant, Captain \V. T. Bromfield, was at his best. Everv- 
one was seized and pulled up to the last notch of 
efficienc.v, pay books were readv in time, company 
returns were faultless, deficiencv lists complete, saluting 
was severer than ever, and echos of heel clicks rattled 

ENG L AN D. 1  

from the windows in the street. Best of ail were the 
drums. Dailv at Retreat, l)rum Sergt. Skinner would 
salute the orderlv officer, the orderlv officer would salute 
the senior officer, then ail the officers would salute ail 
the ladies, the crowd would more slowly away, and 
wheel traffic was permitted once more in tbe High Street. 
The ordinary routine of military life was broken into 
at times bv sudden and violent efforts dictated bv 
lightn[ng ideas of the Divisional or Brigade Staff, or bv 
tbe latest news from tbe front. There was a rime, for 
example, when we could think of one thing only,--the 
recessed trench. Tbat gave place to the half company 
trench, a eomplete system, embracing tire trenches, 
supports, inspection trenches, with cook bouses, wash 
bouses, and ail tbat a well regulated bouse eould 
require; and so important was it, and its dimensions 
so precise, that an annotated copy was printed on 
Tben came a sudden desire to cross streams, bowever 
swollen, and a part)- rode off to Bishops Stortfcrd to 
leam tbe very latest plans. \Ve had just reeeived a 
set of beautiful mules, wcll trained for hard work in 
the transport. As horses were searce, and tbe party 
large, out resourceful adjurant ordered mules. Several 
mules returned at once, tbough manv went witb tbeir 
riders to tbe model bridge, and in their intelligent 
anx[etv to get a reallv close view, went into the water 
witb them. 
On another dav we did a great match tbrougb 
Harlow, and saluted Sir Evelvn A'ood, V.C., who stood 
at his gare to sec us pass. 
Football, boxing and concerts, hot to mention 
dancing, filled out spare time, and there was the famous 


race which ended :--BOB, Major Toller, a, 1., BERLIN, 
Cpt. Bromfield, a, 2. And we are hot forgetting that 
it was at Sawbridgeworth that we ate out tirst Christmas 
war dinner. Never was such a feed. The elght 
companies had each a separate room, and the Cm- 
manding officer, Major Martin, and the adjutant ruade a 
tour of visits, drlnking the health of each company in 
turn--eight healths, eight drlnks, and which of the 
three stood it best? Some sav the second in command 
Otficers had their dinner, too. After the loyal toast 
there was one onlv--" Colour Sergt. Joe Collins, and 
mav he lire for ever ! " The reply was short--" Gentle- 
men, 1 think vou are all looking very well." It was 
hl.q onlv thought, and we were well. \Ve know how 
much we oxve to him ,as our mess sergeant; he studied 
out indlvidual tastes and requirements, and kept us well 
for manv months. Good luck to him ! 
It was hot till January, 1915, that a most important, 
and as a matter of fact the ver 3' slmplest, change in out 
organisation xxas ruade. To be in keeplng with the 
regular forces, out elght companies were reorgauised 
as four. This svstem would alwavs bave suited out 
Çounty battalion even in 10(18, and out onlv wonder is 
that it was hot introduced belote. 
\Vhen, on the 18th of February, the G.O.C. returned 
from a week's visit to France, and gave us a lecture 
upon the verv latest things, we knew we mlght go at 
anv time. Actually at noon on the 25th we got the 
order to entrain at Harlow at midnight, and the next 
mornlng we were on Southampton Docks. 
Are left behind at Sawbridgeworth Captain R. S. 
Goward, now Lieut. Colonel and T.D., in command of 


a company which afterwards developed into a battalion 
called the :rd 5th Leicestershire. This battalion was a 
nurserv and test bouse for officers and men for the 1st 
Fifth. It existed as a separate unit until the 1st of 
September, 1916, and during those lnonths successfully 
initiated ail ranks in the wavs of the regiment, and kept 
alive the spirit which has carried us through the Great 



26th Feb., 1915. 16th June, 1915. 
ATER spcnding the greater part of the day (the 26th 
February) lotlnging about the Hangrs at Southampton, 
we at lcngtb embarked late in the afternoon--Head- 
quarters and tbe right hall battalion in S.S. Duchess of 
Argyle, left half, under Major Martin, in S.S. Atalanta. 
The transport, under Capt. Burnett, was due to sail later 
in S.S. Mazaran, since torpedoed in tbe Channel, but 
they embarked at the saine rime as the test. Four other 
ships containing Divisional Headquarters and some of 
the Sherwood Foresters were to sail with us, and at 
9 p.m., to the accompaniment of several svrens blowing 
" Farewell," we steamed out, S.S. Duchess of Argyle 
leading. The Captain of tbe ship asked us to post a 
signaller to read anv signals, Serjt. Diggle was told 
to keep a look out and assist the ocial signaller, a sort 
of nondescript Swede or other neutral, like the test of 
tbe crew. \Ve soon sighted some war vessel, and asked 
if they had any orders, tbe reply being, according to 
Serjt. Dig'le,. " No «o "--according to the Swede, 
" No no." The Captain preferred to believe the latter, 
and as there were no orders continued his course, though 
we could see the remainder of out little fleet turn round 
and sail back. The weather was appalling, the sea very 


rough, and long before we had reached half wav we 
were ail very iii. This was not surprising, as our 
transport was built for pleasure work on the Clyde, and, 
though fast, was never intended to face a Channel storm. 
Each time a wave crashed into the ship's side we 
imagined we had been torpedoed; in fact, it was one 
long night of concentrated misery. 
\Ve reached Le Havre in the earlv hours of the 
morning, and disembarked, feeling, and probably" look- 
ing, verv bedraggled. From tbe' quay we crawled up a 
long and terriblv steep bill to the rest camp--some lines 
of tents in a mudd)" field. Here, while we waited 24 
hours for our left half Battalion, of whom we had no 
news, we were joined bv our first interpreter, lXl. Furbv. 
M. Furbv was verv anxious to please, but unfortunatelv 
failed to realise the terrible majesty of the Adjutant, a 
fact which caused his almost immediate relegation to tbe 
Q.M. Stores, where he ahvavs procured the best billets 
for Capt. \Vorley and lainaself. On tbe morning of the 
28th we received an issue of sheepskin coats and extra 
socks, the latter a present from H.M. the (ueen, and 
after dinners moved doxxn to the Raihxav Station, 
where we round Major .Martin and the left half. "l'heir 
experiences in the Channel bad been worse than ours. 
Most of them, wisbing to sleep, had started to do so 
before the ship left Southampton on the 26th ; thev were 
almost ail iii during the night, so were glad to find a 
harbour wall outside their port-holes the folloxx ing morn- 
ing, and at once went on deck " to look at France 
onl)" to find they were back in Southampton. Thev 
stayed there ail da3- , and eventuallv crossed tbe next 
nigbt, arriving on the 28th, feeling as bad as we did, 
and having had ail the horrors of two voyages. 


,¥e wcre kpt waiting many hours on the platform, 
whilc the French Railway staff gradually built an 
enormous train, conlposêd of thosê xx-onderful xs-agons 
labêlled " IO.XlXlES 36-0, CrtEVt, tX Er LO,¢ 8," which 
we nos" saw for the first time. Hot in summcr, cold 
in wintêr, always vêrv hard and smelly, and ftlll of 
refuse, they none the lêss answered their purpose, and 
a French troop train undoubtedlv carries thê maximum 
numbcr of mon in the minimum of accommodation. 
During this long wait we should ail bave starved had 
it hot been for thc kindness of an English lady, Mrs. 
Sidney l'itt, who, with othêr English ladies, served out 
an ulimited supply of tca and buns to all. Eventually 
at 5 p.m. our train was rêady, and we entrained--all 
excêpt two platoons, for whom there was no room. 
The transport was loaded on to flats xxhich xxerê hooked 
on behind out wagons, and we finally started up country 
at about î o'clock. Thê train movêd slowlv northwards 
ail night, stopping for a few minutes at Rouên, and 
reaching Abbêvillê just as dawn broke at 7 a.m. Here, 
amidst a dêsolation of railway lines and tin shêds, wo 
stavêd for hall an hour and stretched out cramped 
limbs, while six large cauldrons providêd enough hot tea 
for all. From this point our Pr0grêss bêcame slowêr, 
and thê waits bêtwêen stations proportionally longer, 
until at last we rêached a small village, xvhere, accord- 
ing to our train ordêrs, wê should stop long ênough to 
watêr horss. This we began to do, whên suddnly, 
without anv xshistling or other warning, the train movêd 
on, and Major Martin and Captain Btlrnett, who were 
with the horses, only just managêd to catch thê train, 
and had to travel thê ncxt stage on a fiat with a limber. 
At St. Orner wê werê told whêrê wê should dêtrain, a 


fact hitherto concealed from us, and eventuallv at 2-35 
p.m. in a blizzard and ShOW storm we reached Arneke, 
detrained at once, and marched about rive toiles to the 
little village of Hardifort, where we arrived in the darl« 
\Ve ere, of course, entirelv inexperienced at this 
rime, and in the light of subsequent events, this, our 
first attempt at billeting, vas a most ludicrous perfor- 
mance. The Battalion halted oq the road in fours 
outside the village, at the entrance to which stood a 
group headed bv the C.O. with a note-book; behind 
him was the Mayor--small, intoxicated and supremely 
happy, the Brigade Interpreter, M. L6st, with a list 
of billets, and the Adjurant, angry at having caught a 
corporal in the act of taking a sl 3" drink. Around them 
was a group of some dozen small boys who were to act 
as guides. The Interpreter read out a name followed 
by a number of officers and men ; the C.O. marie a note 
of it and called up the next platoon ; the Mayor shouted 
the naine at the top of his voice, waved his arms, 
staggered, smacked a small boy, and again shouted, 
at which from three to rive small bovs would step o.ut 
and offer to guide the platoon, each choosirg a different 
direction. How we ever round our homes is still a 
mystery, and ver bv 10 p.m. ve were all cornfortablv 
settled in quarters. \Ve were joined the next morning 
bv the two remaining platoons, 2nd Lieuts. Mould and 
The billets were slightly re-arranged as soon as dav- 
light enabled us to see where we were, and we soon 
settled down and ruade ourselves comfortable, being 
told that we should remain at Hardifort until the th 
Match, when we should go into trenches for a week's 
instruction xvith some Regular Division. \Ve had 


nothing" much to do except recover from the eflects of 
out journey, and tbis, with food billets and hOt too bad 
weather, we soon did. Tbe remainder of out BriGade 
had not vet arrived, so we were attached temporaril.v to 
the Sherwood Foresters, whose 8th Battalion was also 
absent, and with thcm on the 4tb moved off Eastwards, 
having the previous day received some preliminary 
instructions in trcncb warfare from General Montagu- 
Stuart-Vortley, who spoke to ail the officers. 
l'receded by out billeting part.v, xvhich left at 5 a.m., 
we marched from Hardifort at 9 a.m., and, passing 
tbrou.b Terdeghen, reached the main road at St. 
Sylvestre Capel, and went alon. it to Caestre. On the 
wav we met General Smith-i)orrien, out Armv Com- 
mander, and wbile tbe Battalion halted he taiked to 
ail the oflicers, gave us some verv valuable hints, and 
then watcbed the Battalion match past, having im- 
pressed us ail with his xvonderful kindness and charm 
of manner. At Caestre we round motor buses waiting 
for us, and we were glad to see them, for though no 
one had fallen out, we were somewhat tired after 
marching nine mlles, carrying, in addition to full march- 
ing order, blankets, sheepskin coats and some extra 
xvarm clothing. The buses took us through Bailleul and 
Nieppe to Armentières, at that rime a town infested 
with the most appalling stinks and verv full of inhabi- 
tants, although tbe front line trenches tan tbrough the 
eastern suburbs. Having " debussed," we marched to 
le Bizet, a little village a mlle north of the town, and 
staved tbere in billets for the night. During the evening 
we stood outside out billets, gazed at the continuous 
line of flares and listened to the rifle tire, imagining in 
our innocence that there must be a terrific battle with 
so manv lights. 


The next da)" our instruction started, and for four 
davs we worked hard, trying to learn all we could about 
trench warfarc from the 12th Brigade, to whom we were 
attached. \Vhile some went off to learn grenade throw- 
ing, a skillçd science in thc'se davs when there was no 
Mills but onlv the " stick " grenades, others helped 
dig back lines of defence and learned the mvstcries of 
revetting under the Ènginecrs. Each platoon spent 24 
hours in the line with a platoon either of the Essex Regt., 
King's Own or Lancashire Fusiliers, who were holding 
the sector from " l'lugstreet " to Le Touquet Station. 
It was a quiet sector except for rifle tire at night, and 
it was verv bad luck that during out first few hours in 
trenches we lost 2nd Lieut. G. Aked, who was killed bv 
a strav bullct in the front line. There was some slight 
shelling of back areas with " Little \Villies," German 
field gun shells, but these did no damage, and gave us 
in consequence a useful contempt for this kind o.f pro- 
jectile. Trench mortars were hot vet invented, and we 
were spared all heavv shells, so that, whel on the 9th 
we left Armentières, we felt confident that trenches, 
though wet and uncomfortablc, were hot after all so 
verv dreadful, and that, if at anv time we should be 
asked to hold the line, we should acquit ourselves with 
Out next home was the dirtv little villa,e of Strazeele, 
which we reached bv march route, and where we found 
Lieut. E. G. Langdale who rejoined us, having finished 
his disembarkation duties. Here we occupied rive large 
farm houses, all verv scattered and verv smelly, the 
smclliest being Battalion Headquarters, called bv Major 
*Iartin " La Ferme de L'Odeur affreuse." The 
Signalling oflicer attempted to link up the farms by 


telephone, but his lines, which consisted of the thin 
enamelled u-il-e issued at the tiret, xvere constantly 
broken bv the farmers' mamlre carts, and the signallers 
will aluavs remember the place with considerable dis- 
gust. One fariner was verv pleased xvith himself, 
having rolled up sone 00 vards of out line under the 
impression that ail thin xvire must be German. The test 
c the Brigade had noxx arrived, and the other three 
Battalions xvere much almoved to find that we were 
ah'eadv experienced soldiers--a fact which we took tare 
to point out to them on everv possible occasion. Out 
onlv othcr amusement xvas the leg-pullilg o.f some news- 
paper correspondents, who, as the result of an interviexv, 
ruade .Major Martin a " quarry official," and Lieut. 
Vincent a poultry fariner of considerable repute! 
On the llth .Match we marched to Saillv sur la Lys, 
better knoxvn as "' Salir on the loose," xvhere with the 
Canadian Division u'e should be in reserve, though we 
did hot know it, for the battle of Neuve Chapelle. The 
little toxvn was croxvded belote even out biIleting part), 
arrived, and it xvas only bv some most brazen billet 
stealig, xvhich iost us for ever the friendship of the 
Divisional Cyclists, that we xvere able to find cover for 
all, xvhile manv of the Lincolnshires had to bivouac in 
the fields. Here we remained during the battle, but 
though the Canadians moved up to the lite, we xvere 
hot used, and spent out rime standing bv and listening 
to the gun tire. A 15" Howitzer, commanded bv Admiral 
Bacon and manned bv Marine Artillery, gave us some- 
thing to look at, and it xvas indeed a remarkable sight 
fo watch the houses in the neighbourhood gradually 
falling doxvn as each shell xvent off. There xvas also 
an armoured train which mounted three guns, and gave 


us much pleasure to watch, though whether it did anx 
damage to the enemv we never discovered. Finally, on 
the 16th, havin. taken no part in the battle, we marched 
to some fatras near Doulieu, and thence on the 19th to 
a new area near Baillêul, includin the hamlets of Noote 
boom, Steent-je (pronc, unced Stench), and Blatche 
Maison, where we staved until the end of the month, 
while the test of the Brigade went to Armentières for 
their tours of instruction. 
Out new area contained some excellent farm bouses, 
and we were verv comfortablv billeted though somewhat 
scattered. The time xas mostlv spent in traininff, which 
consisted then of trench digging and occasionallv prac- 
tising a " trench to trench " attack, with the assistance 
of unners and telepbonists, about whose duties we had 
learnt almost nothing in England. General Smith 
1)orriên came to watch one of these practices, and, 
though he passed one or two criticisms, seemed very 
p|êased with out efforts. \Ve also carried out some 
extraordinarilv dangerous experiments with bombs, 
under Captain Ellxvood of the Lincolnshires and Lieut. 
A. G. de A. Moore, who was out first bomb oflcer. It 
was just about this rime that the Staff came to the con- 
clusion that something simpler in the wav of grenades 
was required than the " Hales " and other lon handled 
types, and to meet this demand someone had invented 
the " jam tin "--an ordinarv small tin filled with a few 
halls and some explosive, into the top of which was 
wired a detonator and frictio.n lighter. For practice pur- 
poses the explosive was left out, and the detonator 
wired into an empty tin. Each dav lines of men could 
be seen about the country standinff behind a hedge, 
over which thev threw jam tins at imainary trenches, 


the aire and ohject of all I)ein K fo make the tin burst as 
soon as possible after hitting the ground. \Ve xvere 
given rive seconds fuses, and our orders were, " turn 
the handle, çount four sloxvly, and tllen throw." lost 
soldiers wiselv countcd four fairlv rapidly, but l'te. G. 
Kcll S, of " I)" Company, greatly distinguislled llimself 
b holding on wcll past " rive,'" with the result that 
the infernal nmchine explodcd ithin a ard of his head, 
fortunatclv doing no damage. 
Ail tllis tine e were about ilinC mlles from the line, 
and were lcf in peace bv tlle Bochc, except for a sinffle 
niglll visi( fronl Olle of Ilis acroplancs, which dropped 
two bombs ncar Bailleul Station and woke us all up. 
Ve did no know wllat tllev were at the tinle, so ere 
hot as alarmed as we naillt otllcrvisc have been. In 
fact '" B " Conlpany had a much more trying rime when, 
a fcw nights later, one of lle cows at tlleir billet calved 
shortlv after midnigh. The sentrv on dutv woke 
Capain ¢ ;r[tlls,  11o in turn woke the fariner and tried 
to explain what Ilad llappellCd. Ail to no purpose, for 
tllc farmer was quite mlablc to understand, and in the 
end was onlv ruade to realisc the gravity of the situation 
b) tlle more general and less scientific explanation that 
" La vache est malade." 
On the 1st April we received a warnilag order to the 
cflec that ttle I)ivsion would take over sllortlv a sector 
of the line South of St. Eloi from the 28th Division, and 
two davs later we marclled tllrough Bailleul to some buts 
on the l)ranoutre-Locre road, where we relieved the 
Northumberland Fusiliers in Brigade support. The 
samc evening tlle Company Commanders went with the 
C.O. and Adjutant to reconnoitre the sector of trenches 
we were to occ-upy. It rained liard all night, and was 


consequently pitch dark, so that the reconnoitring party 
could see verv little and had a most unpleasant jotlrney, 
returnin,ff to the buts at 2 o'clock the next morning 
(Easter Day), tired out and soaked to the skin. During 
the dav the weather improved, and it was a fine ni.ffht 
when at 11 p.m., the Battalion paraded and marched 
in fours thouR-h Dranoutre and along the road to within 
hall a toile of \Vulverghem. Herc, at " l'ackhorse " 
Farm, we were met bv guides of the ,Velch Rcgiment 
(Col. Marden} and taken into tbe line. 
Out first scctor of trenches consistcd of two d[scon- 
nected lengths of front line, called trenches l-I and 15, 
behind each o,f xx hich a few shclters, which wcre neither 
oranised for defence nor even splinter-proof, were 
known as I .'4 and 1,3S--thc S presumably meanin. 
Support. On the left some 17»0 yards from the front line 
a little circular sandbag keep, about 40 vards in diameter 
and known as S.P. 1, formed a Company Headquarters 
and fortified post, while a series of holes covered bv 
sheets of iron and called E4 dug-outs provided some 
more accommodation--of a verv inferior order, since 
the slightest movement bv dav drew tire from the 
snipers' posts on " Hill 76." As this hill, Spanbroek 
Molen on the map, which lies between \Vulverghem 
and \Vvtschaete was held bv the BoE-he, out trenches 
xxhich were on its slopes were overlooked, and we had 
to be most careful hot to expose ourselves anvwhere 
near the front line, for to do so meant immediate death 
at the hands of his snipers, who were far more accurate 
than anv others we have met since. To add to out diffi- 
cuhies out trench parapets, which owing to the wet 
were entirelv above ground, were composed onlv of 
sandbags, and were in manv places hot bullet proof. 


There were large numbers of small farm houses ail over 
the country (surrounded bv their five-months' dead 
lire stock), and as the war had hot vet been in progress 
many months these houses were still recognizable as 
such. Those actuallv in the line were roofless, but the 
other.s, wonderfully preserved, were inhabitçd by support 
Companies, who, thanks to the inactivitv of the enemv's 
artillery, were able to lire in peace though under direct 
ob.servation. In our present sector we round six such 
farnas; " Ço.okers," the rnost famous, stood 500 vards 
behitad S.I'. l, and was the centre of attraction for most 
of the bullets at night. It contained a Çompany Head- 
quarters, signal otfice, and the platoon on the round 
floor, and one platoon in the attic! Behind this, and 
partly screened from view, were " Frenchman's «' occu- 
pied by Battalion Headquarters, " Pond " where half 
the Re.serve Çompany lived, and " Packhorse " con- 
taining the other half Reserve and Regimental Aid Post. 
This last wa.s also t-he burylng ground for the sector, 
and rendezvous for transport and working parties. Two 
other farms--" Cob " and "T"--lav on the \Vulver- 
ghem Road and were hot used until our second tour, 
when Battalion Headquarters moved into " Çob " as 
being pleasanter than " Frenchman's," and " Pond " 
also had to be evacuated, as the Lincolnshires had had 
heavv casualties there. 
The enemv opposite to us, popularly supposed to be 
Bavarians, seemed content to leave everything bv dav 
to lais snlpers. These certainlv were exceptionally good, 
as we learnt bv bitter experience. Bv night there was 
greater activity, and rifle bullets fell thïckly round 
Cokers Farm and the surrounding- country. There 
xvere also fixed rifles at intervals along the enem.x's 


lines aimed at our communication tracks, and these, 
fired frequently during the earlv part of the night, ruade 
life very unpleasant for the carrying parties. There 
were no communication trenches and no light raihvays, 
sct that ail stores and.rations, which could be taken bv 
limbers as far as t'ackhorse Farm only, had to be carried 
bv hand to the front line. This was done bv platoons 
of the support and reserve companies who had frequently 
to make Iwo or three journeys during the night, along 
the slippery track past Pond Farm and Cookers Corner 
--the last a famous and much loathed spot. There were 
grids to walk on, but these more resembled greasy 
poles, for the slabs had been placel longitudinaily on 
cross runners, and many of us used to slide off the end 
into some swampy hole. One of "B " Company's 
officers was a particular adept at this, and fell into some 
hole or other almost everv night. These parties often 
managed to add to our general excitement by discover- 
ing some rem or supposed sp.v along their route, and 
on one occasion there was quite a small stir round 
Co,okers Farm bv " something which moved, was fired 
at, and dropped into a trench with a splash, making 
its escape." A subsequent telephone conversation 
between " Cracker " Bass and his friend Stokes revealed 
the truth that the " something " vas " a y great 
car with white eves." 
Like the enemv's, out artillerv was comparatively 
inactive. Our gunners, though from their Observation 
Posts, " O.P.'s," on Kemmel Hill thev could see manv 
excellent targets, were unable to tire more than a few 
rounds dailv owing to lack of ammunition; what little 
they had was ail of the " pip-squeak " variety, and not 
verv formidable. Our snipers were quite incapable of 


dealing with the Bavarians, and except for Lieut. A. P. 
Marsh, who went about smashillg Boche loophole plates 
with General Cifford's elephant gun, we did nothing in 
this respect. 
In one sphere, however, we were masters--namely, 
patrolling. At Armentières we had had no practice in 
this art, and our first venlure into No Man's Land was 
consequently a distinctlv hazardous enterprise for those 
who undertook it--2nd Lieut. J. \V. Tomson, Corpl. 
Slaniforlh, l'tes. Biddles, Tebbutt, and Tailby, all of 
"A '" Company (Toller). Their second night in the 
line, in 15 tl-ench, lhis little party crawled between the 
two halves of a dead cow, and, scrambling over our 
wire, explored No Man's Land, returning some hall hour 
later. Others followed their lead, and durlng the whole 
of our stav in this sector, though o.ur patrols were o.ut 
almost everv night, thev never met a German. 
\Ve staved in these trenches for a month, taking 
alternate tours of four davs each wilh the 4th Lincoln- 
shires (Col. Jess)p). \Ve lost about two killed and ten 
wounded each tour, mostlv from snipers and stray 
bullets, for we did hot corne il-ltO actual conflict with the 
enemv at all. Amongst the wounded was C.S.M.J. 
Kernick, of "B " Company, whose place was taken 
by H. G. Lovett. This company also lost Serjt. Nadin, 
who was ldlled a few weeks later. 
Although we fo'ught no pitched battles, the month 
included several little excitements of a minor sort, both 
in trenches and when out at test. The first of these was 
the appearance of a Zeppelin over Dranoutre, xxhere 
we were billeted. Fortunatelv onlv Olle bomb droçped 
anywhere near us, and this did no damage; the rest 
were all aimed at Bailleul and its aerodromes. \Ve all 


turned out of bed, and stood in the strects to look at it, 
while manv sentries blazed awav with their rifles, for- 
getting that it was manv hundred fect bevond the range 
o¢ anv rifle. 
Bv the middlc of April the Staff began to expect a 
possible {eman attack, and we " stood to " all night 
the 15/16th, having been warned that it would be l'nade 
oll our front aud that asphy'xiating gases would be 
uscd--we had, of course, no respirators. Two nights 
later lhe 7th l)ivisio.n attacked Hill ri0, and for four 
hours and a quarter, from 4 p.m. to 8-1 p.l'n., vce fired 
out rifles, three rounds a miuute, with si.q-hts at ,300 
vards and rifles set on a bearing of 
o0, in order to 
harass the encrnv's back areas behind the Hill--a task 
xxhich later was ahvavs giveu to the machine gunners. 
In those davs it was a rare thing to hear a machine gun 
at ail, and ours scarceh exer fired. .\ week afterwards, 
when out at test, we heard that the second battle of 
Ypres had begun, and learnt with horror and disgust 
of the famous first gas attack and its ghastly results. 
\Vithiu a few davs the lirst primitive respirators arrived 
and were issued; lhev were nothing but a pad of wool 
and some gauze, aud would have been little tse; for- 
tunatelv we did hot know this, and out confidence in 
them was quite complete. On the 10th May, just belote 
we left the sector, we had a little excitement in the front 
line. A German bombing party suddenh" rushcd " E 1 
Left," a rotten little "' grouse-butt " trench onlv :3; 
vards from the enemy, and held bv the -tth Leicester- 
shires, and succeeded in inflicting several casualties 
belote they made off, leaving one dead behind them. 
This in itself was not much, but both sides opened rapid 
rifle tire, and the din was so terrific that supports were 


rushed up, reserves " stood to" to counter-attack, and 
it was nearlv an hour before we were able to resume 
normal conditions. The following dav e returned to 
the buts, where we were joined by "_'nd Lieut. L. H. 
l'earson ho was posted to " A " Company; nd Lieut. 
Aked's place had alreadv been filled bv Lieut. C F. 
Shields from the Reserve Battalion. nd Lieut. G. \V. 
Allen, who had been awav with measlcs, also returned 
to us during April. 
Out next star in the Locre huts can hardlv be called 
a test. First, on the l:2th Iay, the enemv raided the 
4th Lincolnshires in (il and (1ff trenches, vhere, at 
" l'ecl¢ham Çorner," thev hoped to be able to destrov 
one of out mine gallçries. The raid was preceded by 
a strong trench mortar bombardment, during which the 
Lincolnshire trenches were badlv smashed about, and 
several vards of them so completel3 destroved that out 
'" A " Company were sent up the next evening to assist 
in their repair. Thev staved in the line for twentv-four 
hours, returning to the buts at 4 p.m. on the 14th, to 
find that the test of the Battalion was about to more to 
the 'pres neighbourhood. The previous day the (erman 
attacks had increased in intensit.v, and the cavalrv ho 
had been sent up to fill the gap had suffered verv heavil.v, 
among them being the Leicestershire 'eomanr_v, who 
had fought for manv hours against overwhelming odds, 
losing Col. Evans-Freke and manv others. There was 
great danger that if these attacks continued, the enemv 
would break throug-h, and consequently all available 
troops were being sent up to dig a new trench line of 
resistance near Zillebeke--the line aftervards known as 
the " Zillebeke switch." None of us had ever been to 
the " Salient," b.ut it was a well knovn and much 


dreaded name, and most of us imagined we were likelv 
to bave a bad night, and gloomily looked forward to 
heavy casualties. 
Starting at 6-40 p.m., we went bv motor bus with 
four hundred Sherwood Foreslers through Reninghelst, 
Ouderdom, and Vlamertinghe to Kruisstraat, which we 
reached in three hours. Hence guides of the [th 
Gordons led us bv Bridge 16 over the Canal and along 
the track of the Lille Road. It was a dark night, and 
as we stumbled along in single file, we could see the 
Towers of Ypres smouldering with a dull red glow to 
our left, while the salicnt front line was lit .up bv 
bursting shells and trench mortars. Out rote lav past 
Shrapnel Corner and along the railwav line to Zillebeke 
Station, and was rendered particularly unpleasant by the 
rifle tire from " Hill 60 " on our right. The raihvav 
embankment was high and xve seemed to be unneces- 
sarilv exposing ourselves bv walking along the top of it, 
but as the guides were supposed to know the best route 
we could not interfere. At Zillebeke Church we round 
Colonel Jones, who came earlier bv car, xx aiting to show 
us our work which we eventuallv started at midnight; 
as we had to leave the Church again at 1 a.m., tobe 
clear of the Salient before daylight, we had not much 
rime for work. However, so numerous were the bullets 
that all digging records were broken, especially bv the 
Signallers, whose one desire, verv wisely, was to get to 
ground with as little delay as possible, and xx non we left 
out work, the trench was in places several leet deep. 
The co,ming of daylight and several sah'oc., of Boche 
shells dissuaded us from lingering in the Sal;cnt, and, 
after once more stumbling along the Raihvav Line, we 
reached out motor buses and returned to the buts, 


arriving at 5-:0 a.rn. A tXIay uight is so slaort, that the 
little di,,in, done seemed hardlv worth the casualties, 
but perhaps we were hot in a position to judge. 
Two davs later we went into a new sector, trenches 
on the irnmediate left of the last Brigade sector, and 
previotlsly held bv the Sherwood Foresters. The frout 
line consisting ooE tronches " F4, 5 and 6," " GI and ," 
was more or less coutilaUOUS, though a gap between the 
" F's " and " ('s," across which one had to run, added 
a distinct clernent of risk to a tour round the line. The 
worst part was l'eckharn Corner, where the Lincoln- 
shires had alreadv suffered; for it was badlv sighted, 
badlv built, and completely overlooked bv the enernv's 
sniping redoubt on " Hill 76." lu addition to thls it 
contained a mine shaft running towards the enernv's 
lines, sorne 40 vards away, and at this the Boche con- 
stantlv threw his " Sausages," srnall trench rnortars 
ruade of lengths of store piping stopped at the ends. 
It was also Salspectcd that he was COUlater-rnining. In 
this sector three Companies were in the front line, the 
fourth lived with Battalion Headquarters, which were 
now at Liladelahoek Cfilet near the cross roads, a 
pretty little hotlse on the lower slopes of Mont Kemrnel. 
Though the back area was better, the trenches on the 
whole wel-e hot so co,nafortahle as those we had left, and 
during ont first tour we had reas.on to regret the change. 
First, 2nd Lieut. Ç. V. Selwyn, taking out a patrol in 
front of " F3," was shot throtlgh both thighs, and, 
though wonderfull cheerful when carried in, dled a few 
davs later at Bailleul. The next rncrning, while looking 
at the enenav's snipers' redoubt, Captain J. Chaprnau, 
'_'lad in Çomrnand of " D "' Cornpany, was shot through 
the head, and though he lived for a few days, died soon 


after reaching England. This place was taken bv Lieut. 
J. 1). A. Vinœeent, and at the saine time Lieut. Langdale 
was appoiuted 2nd in Command of " C." There were 
also other changes, for Major R. E. Martin xvas given 
Command of the 4th Battalion, and was succeeded as 
2nd in Command bv Major \V. S. N. Toller, while 
Captain C. Bland became skipper of "A " Company. 
l)uring this saine tour, the Brigade suffered its first 
serious disaster, when thc enenav mined and blew up 
trench " E1 left," hcld at the time bv the 5th Lincoln- 
shire Regiment. This regiment had manv casualties, 
and the trench was of course destro,yed, xvhile several 
meu were buried or half-buried in the debris, where 
thev became a mark for German snipers. "I'o rescue 
one of these, Lieut. Gosling, R.E., who was working in 
tbe G trencbes, went across to E1, and with the utmost 
gallantr.v worked lais wav to the mine crater. Finding 
a soldier hall buried, he started to dig him out, aud had 
]ust completed his task when he fell to a sniper's bullet 
and was killed outright. As at this time the Royal 
Engineers' TunneIling Companies were not sufficient to 
cover the whole British front, none had been allotted 
to this, which was generally considcred a quiet sector. 
Gen. Clifford, therefore, decided to bave his own Brigade 
Tul3uellers, and a company xvas at once formed, under 
Lieut. A. G. Moore, to which we contributed 24 men, 
coalminers bv profession. Lieut. Moore soon got to 
wc, rk and, so xvell did the " amateurs " perform this 
new task, that within a few davs gaIleries had been 
started, aud we were alreadv in touch with the Boche 
underground. In an incrediblv short space of time, 
thanks verv largely to the personal efforts of Lieut. 
[oore, who spent hours everv dav down belov within a 


few feet of the encmy's miners, two German mine-shafts 
and their occupants were blown in bv a " camouflet," 
and both E1 left and E1 right were completely protected 
from further mining attacks bv a defensive gallery along 
their front. For this Lieut. Moore was awarded a verv 
well deserved 5lilitarv Coss. 
After the sCCOl'd tour in this sector xxe again ruade a 
slight change hl the line, giving up the " F " trenches 
and taking instead " G:}," " G-t, .... G4:a," " HI," 
"' H " and " Ha," again relieving the Sherwood 
Foresters, who extended their line to the left. Unfor- 
tunately, thev still retained the Doctor's House in 
Kemmel as their Headquarters, and, as Lindenhoek 
Çhàlet was now too far South, Colonel Jones had to 
find a new home in the village, and chose a small shop 
in one of the lesser streets. \Ve had scarcelv been :4: 
hours in the new billet when, at mid-day, the 4:th June, 
the Boche started to bombard the place with 5.9's, just 
xvhen Colonel Jessop, of the 4:th Lincolnshires, was 
talking to Colonel Jones in the road outside the house, 
while an orderlv held the two horses close bv. The 
first shell fell almost on the party, killing Colonel 
Jessop, the two orderlies, Bacchus and Blackham, and 
both horses. Colonel Jones was wounded in the hand, 
neck and thigh, fort.unatelv hot verv seriously, though 
he had to be sent al once fo England, having escaped 
death bv little short of a miracle. His loss was ve W 
keenly felt bv all of us, for ever since we had corne to 
France, he had been the lire and soul of the Battalion, 
and it was hard to imagine trenches, where we should 
not receive his dailv cheerful visit. \Ve had two 
reassurlng thoaghts, one that the General had promised 
o keep his command open for him as soon as he should 

]3omb l.'orner, Ypres 1915. 

Corner, Yl)res 1915. 

Bal'racks, Ypres 1915. 


return, the second that during lais absence we should be 
commanded bv Major Toller, who had been with us ail 
the rime, and was consequently well known to ail of us. 
Meanwhile we had considerablv advanced in our own 
esteem bv havinff become instructors to one of the first 
" New Armv " l)ivisions to corne to France, the 14th 
Light Infantrv Division, cornposed of three battalions of 
Rifle Brigade and 60th, and a battalion of each of the 
British Liffht Infantrv Regirnents. Thev were attached 
to us, just as xxe had been attached t the 12th Brigade 
at Armentires, to learn the little details of Trench war- 
fare that cannot be tatlght at home, and their platoons 
were with us during both out tours in the " G's " and 
" H's." They were composed almost entirely of 
officers and men who had v,c,lunteered in August, 1914, 
and their phy'sique, drill and discipline were excellent--a 
fact which they took care to point out to everybody, 
adding generally" that thev had corne to France " hot to 
sit in trenches, but to capture woods, villages, etc." 
X.Ve listened, of course, politely to ail this, smiled, and 
went on with our instrtlcting. Many stories are told 
of the ffreat pride and assurance of out visitors, one of 
the most amusing being of an incident which happened 
in trench " H2." Before marching to trenches the 
visiting Platoon Commander had, in a small speech to 
lais platoon, told them to learn ail they could from us 
about trenches, but that they must remember that we 
were not regulars, and consequently our discipline was 
hot the same as theirs. Ail this and more he poured 
into the ears of his host in the line, until he was inter- 
rupted bv the entrv of lais Platoon Sergeant to report 
the accidental wounding of Pte. X bv Pte. Y, who fired 
a round when cleaning his rifle. There was no necd for 


the host to rub it in, he heard no more abo.ut discipline. 
Credit, however, must be given where credit is due, 
and the following tour out visitors distinguished them- 
selves. On the 15th June, at 9.10 p.m., when the night 
was comparatively quiet, the enemv suddenlv blew up a 
trench on our left, held by the Sherwood Foresters, at 
the saine time o,pening heavy rifle tire on our back areas 
and shelling out front line. Captain Griffiths, who held 
our left flank with " B " Company, round that his flank 
was in the air, so very promptly set abo.ut moving some 
of his supports to cover this flank, and so,on ruade all 
secure. Meanwhile Lieut. Rosher, machine gun officer of 
the visiting Durham Light Infantry, hearing the terrific 
din and gathering that something out of the ordinary 
was happening, though he did not know what, slung a 
maxim tripod over his shoulders, picked up a gun under 
each arm, and went straightaway to the centre of 
activitv--a feat hot onlv of wonderful physical strength, 
but considerable initiative and courage. \Ve did not 
surfer heavv casualties, but 2nd Lieut. Mould's platoon 
ha-t3 their parapet destroved in one or two places, and 
had to re-build it under heavy tire, in which Pte. J. H. 
Cramp, the Battalion hairdresser, distinguished him- 
self. Except for this one outburst on the part of the 
Boche we had a quiet time, though Peckham Corner 
was alwavs rather a cause of anxiety, for neither R.E. 
nor the Brigade Tunnellers could spare a permanent 
part)- on the mine shaft. Consequently, it was left ho 
the Company Commander to blow up the mine, and 
with it some of the German trench, in case of emergency, 
and it was left to the infantrv to supply listeners down 
the shaft to listen four counter-mining. On one occasion 
xvhen Captain Bland took over the trench with "A "' 


Cornpany, he found the pump out of order, the water 
rising in the sbaft, and the gallery full of foui air, ail of 
which difficulties were overcome without the R.E.'s 
help, bv the courage and ingenuity of Serjeant Garratt. 
There was one remarkable feature of the whole of this 
period of the war which cannot be passed over, and that 
was the verv decidcd superiority of our Flying Corps. 
Durillg the whole of three months in the Kemmel 
area we never once saw a (t'rman acroplane cross out 
lines without being instantlv attacked, and on one occa- 
sion we watched a most exciting battle between two 
planes, which ended in the German falling in flames into 
Messines, at which we cheered, and the Boche shelled 
us. T,owards the end of the war the air was often thick 
with aeroplanes of ail nationalities and descriptions, but 
in those days, before bombing flights and battle 
squadrons had appeared, it was seldom one saw as manv 
as eight planes in the air at a rime, and tactical forma- 
tions either for reconnaissance or attack seemed to be 
unkn,cwn; it was ail "' one nmn " ork, and each one 
man worked well. 
On the night of the 16th June the Battalion came out 
of trenches and marched to the Locre huts for the last 
time, looking forward to a few davs' rest in good 
weather belote moving to the Salient, which w e were 
told was shortlv to be our rate. \Ve had been verv 
fortunate in keeping these huts as our rest billets 
throughout our star in the sector, for though a xooden 
fl.oor is hot so comfortable as a bed in a billet, the camp 
was well sited and verv convenient. The Stores and 
Transport were lodged onlv a few vards awav at 
Locrehof Farm, and Captain \Vorlev used to have everv- 
thing ready for us when we came out of the line. 


l)uring the long march back from trenches, we could 
alwavs look forward to hot drinks and big rires waiting 
for us at the buts, while there was no more inspiring 
sight for the oflicers than Mess Çolour-Sergeant J. 
Çollins' cheerv smile, as he stirred a cauldron of hot 
rum punch. Bailleul was onlv two mlles away, and 
otticers and men used o¢ten to ride or walk into the town 
to call on " Tina,'" buv lace, or have hot baths (a 
great luxury) at the Lunatic Asvlum. l)ividing out 
time betveen this and cricket, for which there was 
plenty of room around the huts, we generally managed 
to pass a very pleasant four or six davs' test. 


22nd June, 1915. 1st Oct., 1915. 
ON the ff:had June, 1915, after resting for rive davs in 
the Huts, where General Ferguson, out Corps Com- 
mander, came to say good-bye, we marchcd at 9.0 p.m. 
to Ouderdom, while out place in the line was taken by 
the 50th Northumbrian Territorial Division, xvho had 
been very badly hammered, and were being sent for a 
rest to a quiet sector. At Ouderdom, which we reached 
about midnight, we discovered that out billets consisted 
of a farm house and a large ficld, hot verv cheering to 
those who had expected a village, or at least buts, but 
better than o,ne or two units xvho had fields only, witbout 
the farm. It was out first experience in bivouacs, but 
fortunatelv a fine night, so we soon ail crawled under 
waterproof sheets, and slept tmtil da.vlight allowed us to 
arrange something more substant[al. The next day, 
with the aid of a few " scrounged " top poles and some 
string, everv man ruade himself some sort of weather- 
proof hutch, while the combined tent-valises of the 
officers were grouped together near the farm, which 
was used as mess and Ç)uartermaster's Stores. 
Unfortunately, we had no sooner ruade ourselves really 
comfortable than the Staffordshires claimed the field as 
part of their area, and we had to more to a similar 


billeting area a few hundred yards outside Reninghelst 
where we staved until the 9,'th. The weather remained 
hot and fille, except for two verv heavy showers in the 
middle of one da3, when most of the officers could be 
seen making furiotls efforts to dig drains round their 
bivouacs from illside, while the other ranks stood stark 
nakcd round the field and enjoyed the pleasures of a 
cold shower-bath. \Ve spent our time training and 
providing workhlg parties, one of which, consisthlg of 
400 men under Capt. Jeffries, for work at Zillebeke, 
proved ;.ul even greater fiasco than its predccessor bi Mav. 
For on this occasion, ilot olllv was the night verv short, 
but the g-uides failed to find the work, and the part)" 
eventuallv returned to bivouacs, having done nothing 
except wander about the salient for three hours. Two 
davs before we left Reninghelst the first reinforce- 
ments arrived t;or us, consisting of 1 returned 
casualties and 80 N.C.O.'s and men from England 
--a ver 5" welcome addition to our strength. 
The timc eventually arrived for us to go into the line, 
and on the 29th the officers went up bv dav to take over 
from the Sherwood Foresters, xvhile the remahlder of the 
Battalion followed as soon as it was dark. .Iud roads 
and broad cross-country tracks brought i_lS over the plain 
to the " Indian Transport Field," near Kruisstraat 
\Vhite Chateau, still standing tlnlotlched because, it was 
said, its peace-time o,wner xvas a Boche. Leaving the 
Çhateau on our right, and passillg Brigade Headquarters 
Chalet on our left, xve kept to the road through Kruis- 
straat as far as the outskirts of 'pres, where a track to 
the riffht led us to Bridge 14: over the  p es-Comlnes 
Caïïal. Thence, by field tracks, we crossed the Lille 
road a few vards north of Shrapnel Corner, and leaving 


on out left the longf, low, red buildings of the " Ecole 
de Bienfaisance," reached Zillebeke Lake close to the 
white bouse at the N.\V. corner. The lake is triangular 
and entircly artificial, being surrounded bv a broad 
causeway', 6 feet high, with a pathway along the top. 
On the western edge the ground falls away, leaving a 
bank sorne twenty feet high, in which were built the 
" Lake Dug«outs,"--the borne of one of the support 
battalions. Frorn the corner bouse to the trencbes 
there were two routes, one by the south side of the Lake, 
past Raihvav l)ug-outs--cut into tbe ernbankrnent of the 
Cornincs Raihvay--and Manor Farrn to Square \V'od; 
the other, which we followed, alonff the Nortb side of 
the Lake, where a trench eut into the causewav gave us 
cover frorn observation frorn " Hill 60." At Zillebeke 
we left the trencb, and crossed the main road at the 
double, on account of a machine gun whicb the Boche 
kept at the " Hill 60"' end of it, and kept rnovinff 
until past the Church--anoher unplcasant localitv. 
Thence a screened track led to Maple Copse, an isolated 
little wood with several dug-outs in it, and o.n to 
Sanctuarv \\'ood, which we round 400 vards further 
East. Here in dug-outs lived the Supports, for whorn 
at thi-s tirne was no fighting accommodation except one 
or txvo absurdlv miniature keeps. At the corner of the 
larger wood we passed the Ration Durnp, and tben, leav- 
ing this on our lett, turned illto Arrnagh \Vood on out 
Frorn the southern end of Zillebeke village two roads 
tan to the front line. One, alrnost due South, kept 
close to the railway and was lost in the ruins of 
Zwartelen village on " Hill 60 " ; the otber, turning East 
along a ridge, passed between Sanctuary and Arrnzgh 


Voods, and crossed our front line between the "A " 
and " B " trenches, the left of our new sector. The 
ridge, called Observatory, on account of its numerous 
O.l'.'s, was sacred to the Gunners, and no one xas 
allowed to linger there, for fear of betraying these points 
of vantage. Beyond it was a valley, and beyoad that 
again some high ground N.E. of the bill, afterwards 
known as Mountsorrel, on account of Colonel Martin's 
Headquarters, which were on it. The line ran over the 
top of this high ground, which was the meeting place 
of the old winter trenches {numbered 46 to 50) on the 
right, and, on the left the new trenches " Æ," " B," 
etc, built for our retirement during the 2nd Battle. The 
5th l)ivision held the old trenches, we relieved the Sher- 
wood Foreters in the new " A1 " to " AS," with three 
companies in the line and onlv one in support. "I'he 
last was near Battalion Headquarters, called Uppingham 
in Colonel Jones' honour, which were in a bank about 
-°00 vards behind the front line. Some of the dug-outs 
were actuallv in the bank, but the most extraordinary 
erection ,of ail was the mess, a single sandbag thick 
bouse, built entirely above ground, and standing by 
itself, unprotected by anv bank or fold in the ground, 
absolutelv incapable, of course, of protecting its 
occupants from even an anti-aircraft " dud." 
%Ve soon discovered during our first tour the difference 
between the Salient and other sectors of the line, for, 
whereas at Kemmel we were rarelv shelled more than 
once a day, and then onlv xvith a few small shells, now 
scarcely three hours xvent bv without some part of the 
Battalion's front being bombarded, usuallv with whizz- 
bangs. The Ypres whizz-bang, to=o, was a thing one 
could ,lot despise. The country round Klein Zi!lebeke 


was vcrv close, and the Boche was able to keep his 
batteries only a few hundred yards behind his front line, 
with the resuh that the "Bang" generally arrived belote 
the whizz. " A6 " and " Aî " suffered mnost, and on 
the 1st July Captain T. C. 1'. Beasley, comnmnalMing "C" 
Çomnpany, and Lieut. A. P. Marsh, of "B" Comnpany, 
were both wounded, and had to be sent awav to 
Hospital some hours later. The saine night we gave 
up these undesirable trenches, together with " A5 " and 
" A8 " to the 4th Battalion, and took instead " 49," 
"50 " and the Support " 51 " fromn the Cheshires of the 
5th Division. These trenches were about 200 vards 
fromn the enemv except at the iunction of " 49 " and 
" 50," where a smnall salient in lais line brought himn to 
within 80 yards. The sniping here was as deadlv as al 
Kemmnel, though round the corner in " A1 " xve could 
bave danced on the parapet and attracted no attention. 
On the other hand " 49 " and " 50 " were comnfortablv 
built, whereas " A1 " was shallov and narrow and half 
filled with tunnellers' sandbags, for it contained three 
long mine shafts, two of which were alreadv under the 
German lines. " A2," " 3 " and " 4 " were the most 
peaceful of our sector, and the only disturbance here 
during the tour was when one of a smnall burst of crumps 
blew up our bomnb store and blocked the trench for a 
timne. This,«'as on the 5th, and after it we were left 
in peace, until, relieved bv the Staffordshires, we 
marched back to Ouderdom, feeling that we had escaped 
froi.n our first tour in the ill-famed salient fairlv cheaply. 
Even so, we had lost two officers and 2, O. Ranks 
wounded, and seven killed, a rate which, if kept up, 
would soon ver)" seriously deplete our ranks. 
On reaching Ouderdom, we found that some huts on 



the Vlamertinghe voad had now been allotted us instead 
of out bivouac field, and as on the following day it 
rained hard, we were hot sorry. Our satisfaction, how- 
ever, was short-lived, for the hut roofs were of wood 
only, and leaked in so manv places that many were 
absotutel,, uninhabitable and had tobe abandoned. At 
the saine time some short lengths of shelter trench which 
we had dug in case of shelling vere completely filled 
with water, so that anyone desiring shelter must needs 
have a bath as well. This wet weather, coupled with a 
previous shortage of water in the trenches, and the 
generalb; unhealthy state of the salient, brought a con- 
siderable amount of sickness and slight dysentry, and 
although we did not send many to Hospital, the health 
of the Battalion on the whole was bad, and we seemed 
to have lost for the time our energy. Probably a fort- 
night in good surroundings would bave cured us 
completely, and even after eight davs at rest we were 
in a better state, but on the 13th we vere once more 
ardered into the line and the good work was undone, 
for the sickness returned with increased vigour. 
Between the Railway Cutting at " Hill 60 " and the 
Comlnes Canal further south, the lines at this time were 
very close together, and atone point, called Bomb 
Corner, less than 50 yards separated out parapet from 
the Boche's. This sector, cntaining trenches " 35 " 
at Bomb Corner, " 36 " and " 37 " up to the Railway, 
was held bv the 1st Norfolks of the 5th Division, who 
were finding their own reliefs, and, with one company 
resting at-a time, had been more than two months in 
this same front line. On the llth July the Boche ble 
a mine under trench " 37 " doing considerable damage 
to the parapet, and on the following night " 36 " was 


similarly treated, and a length of the trench blotted out. 
Tbe night after this we came in to relieve the Norfo]ks, 
who hot unnaturally were expecting " 35 " to share the 
saine fate, and had consequently evacuated their front 
line for the night, while thev sat in the second line and 
waited for it to go up in the air. Captain Jefferies with 
" D " Company took over ":5," vhile the two damaged 
trenches were held by "B " Company (Capt. J. L. 
Griffiths). " A " and " C " held a keep near Verbran- 
den Molen--an old mill about three hundred vards behind 
our front line--and 13attalion Headquarters lived in some 
dug-outs in the woods behind " 35." Behind this again, 
the solitarv Blaupoort Farm provided R.A.P. and ration 
dump with a certain amount of cover, though the number 
of dud shells in tbe courtvard ruade it necessar 3, to walk 
with extreme caution on a dark night. In spire of the 
numerous reports of listening posts, who heard 
"' rapping underground," we were hot blown up during 
our four days in residence, and out chier worry was hot 
mines, but again xhizz-bangs. One batterv was parti- 
cularly offensive, and three rimes on the 15th Capt. 
Griffiths had his parapet blé-wh away bv salvoes of these 
very disagreeable little shells. One's parapet in this 
area was one's trench, for di,,in,,t, t, was impossible, and 
we lived behind a sort of glorified sandbag grouse butt, 
six feet thick at the base and two to three feet at the 
top, sometimes, but hot ahvay's, bullet-proof. 
One or two amusing stories are told about the 
infantry opposite " :35," who were Saxons, and inclined 
to be friendlv with the English. On one occasion the 
following message, tied to a stone, was thrown into out 
trench : " We are going to send a JOlb. bomb. \Ve 
bave got to do it, but don't want to. I will comme this 


evening, and we will whistle first to warn you." Ail of 
this happened. A few davs later thev apparently 
rnistusted the German official news, for they sent a 
further message saying, " Send us an English news- 
paper that we may learn the veritv." 
The weather throughout the tour was bad, but on the 
night of 17th/18th, when we were relieved at midnight 
bv the Sherwood Foresters, it became appalling. Ve 
were hot vet due for a rest, having bcen onlv four days 
in the line, and out ordcrs wcre to spend the night in 
bivouacs at Kruisstraat and return to trenches the fol- 
lowing evening, taking over out old sector " 50 " to 
" A7." ,Veakened with sickness and soaked to the 
skin, we stumbled through black darkness along the 
track to Kruisstraat--three mlles of slippery mud and 
water-logged shell holes--onlv to find that out bivouac 
field was flooded, and we must march back to Ouderdom 
and spend the night in the huts, rive mlles further 
west. We reached h.ome as dawn was breaking, tired 
out and wet through, and lay down at once to snatch 
what sleep we eould before moving off again at 6-30 
p.m. But for manv it was too much, and 150 men 
reported sick and were in such a weak condition that 
they were left behind at the huts, where later they were 
joined by some 40 more vho had tried hard to reach 
trenches but had had to give up and fall out on the 
wav. The rest of us, marching slowly and b shcrt 
stages, did eventuallv relieve the Sherwood Foresters, 
but so tired as to be absolutelv unfit for trenches. 
Fortunatelv for two davs the weather was good and 
the Boche verv quiet, there was time for ail to get a 
thorough rest, and bv the 20th we had very largely 
recovered our vigour--xvhich was just as well, for it 
troved an excltin tour. 


The excitement started about a mlle away on our left, 
when, on the evening of the 19th, the next Division 
blew up an enorm.ous mine at Hooge, and, with the aid 
of an intense artillery bombardment, attacked and 
captured part of the village, including the chateau 
stables. The enemy counter-attacked the following 
night, and, though he ruade no headway and was driven 
out with heavv i,oss, he none the less bombarded out 
new ground continuouslv and caused us many casualties. 
Accordingly, to make a counter attraction, the Tun- 
nelling Company working with us was asked to blov 
up part of the enemv's lines as s.oon as possible; the 
blow would be accompanied by an artillerv " strafe " 
bv us. There was at this time such a network ,f mine 
.alleries in front of " AI," that Lieut. Tulloch, R.E., 
was afraid that the Boche would hear him loading one 
of the galleries, so, to take no risks, blew a pre- 
liminary camouflêt on the evening of the 21st, destrov- 
ing the enemy's nearest sap. This was successful, and 
the xvork of loading and tamping the mines started at 
once. 15001bs. of ammonal were packed at the end of 
a gallery the German redoubt opposite 
" Al," while at the end of another short gallery a 
smaller mine was laid, in order to destroy as much as 
possible of his mine workings. The date chosen was 
the 2:lrd, the rime î p.m. 
At 6-55 p.m., having vacated " AI " for the rime, 
we blew the smaller of the two mines--in order, it 
was said, to attract as manv of the enemv as possible 
into his redoubt. To judge by the volume of rifle tire 
which came from his lines, this part of the programme 
was successful, but we did hot bave long to think about 
it, for at 7 p.m. the 15001bs. went off, and Boche 


redoubt, sandbags, and occupants went into the air, 
toetber with some tons of the salient, much of which 
fell into out trenches. A minute later out Artillery 
opened their bombardrnent, and for the next hall hour 
the enemv must bave had a thoroughly bad time in 
everv wav. His retaliation was insignificant, and con- 
sisted of a verv few little shells fired more or less ai 
random--a disquieting feature to those of tas who knew 
the Germans' love of an instant and heavv reply to out 
slightest offensive action. " Stand to," the usual time 
for the evening "hate," passed off verv quietly, and, 
as we sat clown to out evening meal, we began to 
wonder whether we were t'o bave anv reply at ail. 
Meanwhile, three new officers arrived--2nd. Lieut. R. 
C. Lawton, of " A " Cornpany, who had been prevented 
by sickness from coming abroad with us, and 2nd 
Lieuts. E. E. \Vynne and N. C. Marriott, both of 
wbom xere sent to " B " Conapany, where they joined 
Capt. Griffitbs at dinner. Thev were half wav thrcmgh 
their meal when, without the slightest warning, the 
ground heaved, pieces of the roof fell on the table, 
and thev heard the ominous whirr of falling clods, 
which betokens a rnine at cl.ose quarters. 
Belote the débris had stopped falling, Capt. Griffiths 
was out of lais dug-out and scrambling along h[s half- 
filled trench, to final out what had happened. Reaching 
the right end of " 50," he round his front line had 
been completely des.troyed, and xvhere his listening 
post had been, was now a large crater, into which 
the Boche was firing trench mortars, while heavy rifle 
tire came from his front line. Except tor a few 
wounded men, he could see nothing of Serjt. Bunn 
and the garrison of the trench, most of whom he soon 


realized must have been buried, where the tip of the 
crater had engulfed what had been the front line. For 
ab'out 80 vards no front line existed, nor had he 
suflcient men in the left of his trench to bring across 
to help the right, .o, sending down a report of 
condition, he started, with anv orderlies and batmen 
he ould collçct, to rescue those of his C3mpany who 
had been onlv partially buried. Meanwhile, help was 
coming from two quarters. On the right, Colonel 
Mar.tin, of th 4th Battalion, also disturbed at dinner, 
was soon up in " 49 " trench, where he fcund that 
left flank had also suffered from the explosion, but 
hot so badlv. His first thought was to form some 
c.onth»uous line of defence across the gap, if po,ssible 
linking up with the crater at the saine time, and, with 
this object in view he personally reconnoitred the ground 
and dscovered a small disused trench running in front 
of " 49 " towards the crater. Quickly organizing 
parties of men, he sent them along this cut, first to 
continue it up to the crater, then with sandbags for 
the defence of the " lip." He himself superintended 
the work inside the crater, where he had a mlraculcus 
escape from a trench mortar, which wounded all stand- 
ing round him. At the saine rime, R.S.M. Small, 
finding a dazed man of " B " Company wander[ng near 
Battalin Headquarters, heard what had happened, 
and without waiting for further orders sent off everv 
available man he could find with shovels and sandbags 
to assist Çapt. Griflths. Hall an hour later, Capt. 
Bland alto arrived with tvo platoons of " C " Company, 
sent acros. from the left of our line, and by dawn with 
their help a trench had been cut through frçn " 50 " 
to " 49." This, though hot organized for defence, vet 

Hthenzollern lXIemorial. 

The  a£er Tower and Railway Track, 


enabled one to pass through the damaged area. At the 
saine time the miners started to make a small tunnel 
into the bottom of the crater, so that it would no longer 
be necessary to climb over the lip to reach the bomb 
post which was built inside. 
During the next day we were fortunately hot much 
harassed by the encre.v, and were consequently able to 
continue the repair work on "50." "'B" Company 
had had -t2 casualties from the mine itself, of whom 
eight were killcd and seven, including Sergt. Bunn, 
xere missing, while in the rest of the Battalion about 
30 men were wounded, mostly bv trench mortars or 
rifle tire when digging out " 50 " trench. At the time 
of the explosion the enemy had thrown several bombs 
at " A'-'," and it was thought for a time that he intended 
making an attack here, but rapid tire was opened by 
the garriso.n, and nothing followed. On the evening of 
the ;21th we were due for relief, but, as " 50 " was still 
only partially cleared, and we had hot vet traced all 
our missing, we staved in f'o,r another 24 hours, during 
which time we thoro.ughly reorganized the sector, and 
were able to hand over a properly traversed tire trench 
to the Lincolnshires when they came in. Before we 
left we round Sergt. Bunn's body; he had been buried 
at his post, and was still holding in his hand the tiare 
plstol which he was g.oing to tire when the mine ex- 
ploded. The men of the listening post were hot round 
until some rime later, for they had been throxvn several 
hundred vards by the explosion. 
On relief, we marched back to Ouderdom, takin K 
with us the otïïcers and men of the 17th Division, 
wlm. had been a.ttached for in.struction during the last 


tour, and reached a bivouac field near the windmill at 
4-:30 a.m. Here xve staved 24 hours, and then moved 
into the "E " huts--an excellent camp, further E. 
along the Vlamertinghe road than that which ve had 
previously occupied. We ere due to remain here for 
six days, and accordingly started out usual training 
in bomb and bayonct fighting. Meanwhile, Lieut. 
Moore and the Battalio.n Tunnellers were once more 
hard at work helping the R.E. in " 50 " and " Al." 
and on the :0th July two of them, Serjt. J. Emmerson 
and l'te. H. G. Starbuck, working underground, came 
upon a (;erman gallery. Vithout a moment's hesitation, 
Starbuck broke in and round that the charge was 
alreadv laid, and wires could be seen leading back to 
the enemv's lines. If the (;ermans had heard him at 
xxork there was no doubt that thev would blow their 
mine at once, but heedless of this danger, he staved in 
the gallery until he had cut the leads, and so ruade it 
possible for the Engineers to remove the hall ton of 
" Vestphalite " which they round alreadv in position, 
immediately under " t9." For their daring work, the 
two miners were awarded the I).C.M., Starbuck getting 
his at once, Serjt. Emmerson in the next honours list. 
Two nights later the enemv suddenlv opened rapid rifle 
tire opposite "49," which equally suddenly died away, and 
we like to think that some Boche oNcer had at the 
saine rime pressed the starting button to explode his 
" Vestphalite," only to find that nt3thing happened. 
Towards the end of June, there appeared in the 
German oncial communiqué a statement that the French 
had been using liquid tire in the Champagne fighting, 
and those who had studied the Boche methods recog- 
nized this as a warning that he intended to make use 


o.f it himself at an early date. The prophets were right, 
and at dawn on the 30th July" the encre.v, anxious to 
recapture Hooge, attacked the llth Division who were 
holding the village, preceding the attack with streams 
of liquid tire, under which the garrison either succumbed 
or were driven out. At the saine time an intense bom- 
bardment was opened, and we, whose test was hot due 
to end until the fo.llowing da3" , were ordered to stand 
bv readv to more at 30 minutes' no.tice. As we waited 
we wondered whcther the 3rd Battle of Ypres had 
begun, there certainlv seemed to be enough noise. By 
mid-day, however, we had not been used, and as no 
news of the battle reached us we xxere preparing to 
settle down a.ain for an¢her dav of peace, when at 
2-30 p.m. orders came for us to go to Kruisstraat at 
once. \Ve marched by Companies, and on arrival 
bivouacked in a field close to the Indian Transport Lines, 
xvhere we met several Battalions of the 3rd l)ivision on 
their wa.v up to Hooge, though they were unable to tell 
us anything definite about" what had happened. The 
wildest rumours were heard everywhere, that the Ger- 
mans had used burning oil, vitriol, and almost everv 
other acid ever invented, that the salient was broken, 
that out l)ivision had been surro,unded. One thing 
was certain--that at 4: p.m. the gunfire had almost 
ceased, and there was no sign of anv German near 
As soon as it was dark we left Kruisstraat and 
marched bv Bridge 14: and Zillebeke to Maple Copse, 
where we were told to bivouac for the night, still being 
readv to move at verv short notice if required. Here 
we round a Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters, from 
whom we were at last able to learn the truth of the 


morning's battle. It appeared that at dawn the enemy, 
carrying flame projectors, had crept close up to the front 
line trenches in Hooge, and suddenly lighting these 
machines had sent a spray of burning vaporised oil over 
the trench. The garrison, 1-tth Division, were surprised, 
manv of them burnt, and all throxxn into confusion, 
during which the Boche atacked in considerable force, 
drove them out a]d broke in as far as Zouave \Vood. 
The left of the Sherwood Foresters had been attacked, 
but stood firm, even though the Germans in Zouave 
\Vood were almost behind them, until General Shipley 
ordered the flank to be dropped back to conform with 
the new line. A counter-attack was delivered during the 
dav by two Battalions of the Rifle Brigade, who, relieved 
the night belote, had marched eight mlles out to test 
and eiht mlles back again at once, and were hopelessly 
tired belote thev started. In spite of this, thev 
ruade a gallant effort, and were wiped out almost to a 
man in Zouave \Vood. At the time of the morning 
attack the Germans could if they liked bave walked on 
into Ypres, fcr thev had broken into the salient, and 
there was no other organized line of defence betxeen 
them and the town. Fortunatelv thev did hot realise 
this, or, as is more probable, they never imagined that 
their flame attack would prove so successful. Still, 
they might make a further effort at anv moment, and it 
was to meet this that we had been mved into Maple 
Al1 through the night and the following dav there 
were continua1 short artillery bombardments bv both 
sides, and on four occasions the Copse was shelled with 
salvoes of shrapnel in rapid succession. As note more 
than hall of us had any sort of dug-outs, and the 


remainder had to rely mainly on tree trunks for pro- 
tection, out casualties were fairly lieavy, and in a short 
time we had lost 23 wounded, including H. ,Vest, the 
mess cook, L.-Corpl. J. H. Cramp, and several other 
notabilities. \Ve might, during the day, have built 
ourselves some sort of oover, but everv available man 
had to be sent carrying bombs, ammunition, and trench 
mortars for the Sherxvod Foresters, whose left flank was 
constantlv in touch with the enemy. One o{ these car D- 
ing parties round by " D " Company had the misfortune 
to be led by a guide, who lost his way, into the corner 
of Zouave \Vood, and in a few minutes six of them xvere 
wounded bv a machine gun which opened tire on them at 
twentv vards" range; they were carried out by the test 
of the party, who escaped under cover of the brushwood, 
but one, Çarroll, died a few davs later. Bv the evening 
of the a/st the situation was more satisfactory, and a 
new front line trench had been organized vest of the 
wood, linking up with the Sherwood Foresters, who now 
no longer required carrying parties. Meanwhile, it was 
discovered that from his newlv captured position, the 
Boche completely overlooked the track from Zillebeke 
to Maple Copse, and accordingly we were ordered to 
start at once to dig a communicatboaa trench alongside 
the track. Ail that night, the next da3- , Bank Holiday, 
and the following night, we worked till we could hardlv 
hold out shovels, and by the time we stopped, at dawn 
on the rd, there was a trench the whole way'--not ver}" 
deep in places and hot perhaps verv scientificallv dug, 
but still en.ough to give cover. As soon as work was 
over xve returned to the copse and slept, for at dusk that 
night we were to go once more to the line and relieve 
the Lincolnshires in " 50 " to " Aî." Maple Copse had 
cost us altogether 35 killed and wounded. 


\Ve found the trenches verv much as we had left them 
except th&t " AI " had been battered into an almost 
unrecognizable condi.tion bv the enemv's latest trench 
weapon, the heavv Minenwerfer. Unlike the " Rum 
Jar " or " Cannister," which was a home-ruade article 
c'osisting of anv old tin filled with explosive, this new 
bomb was shaped like a shell, fitted with a copper driving 
band and fired from a rifled mortar. It weighed over 
2001bs., was eilher two feet two inches or three feet six 
in.ches long and nine inches in diameter, and produced 
on exploding a crater as big as a small mine. It could 
fortunately be seen in the air, and the position of the 
mortar was roughly known, o we posteoe a sentrv whose 
duty was to listen for the report of discharge, sight the 
bomb, alld crv at the top of his voice " Sausage left " 
or " Sausage" Our Artillerv had tried hard to 
destroy the mortar, but it apparently had a small railway 
to itself, alld moved awav as s.oon as we opened tire. 
For retaliation we had nothing except rifle grenades, 
which were like flea-bites to an elephant, or the Howit- 
zers, who bad to be called on the telephone, all of which 
took time. 
The test of the line was fairlv quiet except for a few 
small "sausages" on trench "5," and our chier concern 
xvas now the shortage of men. In those davs a trench was 
hot considered adequately .arrisoned tln]ess there were at 
least three men in everv tire bay, so that although xve 
had manv more men to the vard than we bave many 
times had since, we imagined, when we round it neces- 
sarv to have one or two empty tire bays, that we were 
impossibly weak. So much was this the case, that, on 
the night of the 4th Atlgust, C.Q.M. Serjeants Gorse 
alld Gilding were ordered to bring all available men from 


the stores at Poperinghe to belp hold tbe line--a most 
unpleasant journey because the Boche, ahvavs fond of 
celebrating anniversaries, co,mmemorated the declaration 
of war witb a " strafe " of special magnitude. As most 
of this came between Ypres and Zillebeke, tbe two 
Iuarter-master Serjeants had a harassing rime, and 
did hot reach their bivouacs in Poperingbe until 5-15 the 
following morning. Ail through tbe tour tbe pounding 
of " A1 '" continued, wbile out onh" eflort at retaliation 
vas a I;01b. mortar vhich tbe Royal Garrison Artillerv 
placed in rear of " ;'»Il " trencb. "l'bis one dav fired 
six rounds, tbe last of whicb fell in the German front 
line, and for near|v tventv-four hours we were left in 
peace, while a '" switch " line was built across the back 
of " AI " salient. Ail hope o,f ever recovering the old 
" AI " was given up. 
Meanwbile, the l)ivision on our left was not being idle. 
For the past week out Artillerv in tbe salient bad fired 
a ball-bout bombardment everv morning at '2-5, and 
on tbe 9th tbis was repeated as usual. The Boche had 
become used to it, and retired to his dug-outs, where be 
was round a few minutes later bv the 6th l)ivision, who 
had relieved the llth, and were now trying to recapture 
all tbe lost ground. Tbe surprise was perfect, and the 
enemy, never for a moment expecting an attack at that 
bout, were killed in large numbers before thev could 
even " stand-to." I)uring tbe battle "_'01 of the 4th 
Lincolnslires occupied out support trenches, in case of 
anv trouble on out front, and in the evening the test of 
tbe Battalion arrived and took over tbe llne, wbile we 
replaced tbem in Brigade Support--Battalion Head- 
quarters, " B " and " C " Companies in the " Lake " 
dug-outs, "A " and " 1)" Companies in the Barracks 
of Ypres. 


During the next six days we xxere worked harder than 
we had been xrked before, digging, carrying, and 
trench revetting. Fortunately both halves of the 
Battalion had fairlv comfortable quarters to which to 
return after work was over, though those in Ypres lived 
a somewbat nois)' life. The barracks ere close to the 
centre of the town, and each dav the Boche fired his 
17in. Howitzer from dawn to dusk, mostly at the 
Cathedral and Çlotb Hall, with occasional pauses to 
shoot at the Ecole de Bienfaisance, just outside the 
Menin gate. The shell, arriving with great regularity 
everv 15 minutes, was generally knwn as the " Ypres 
express," for it arrived with the most terrif.ving roar, 
buried itself deep in the ground before exploding, and 
then ruade an enorm.ous crater. As it burst, hot onlv 
did everv house shake, but the whole street seemed to 
lift a few feet in the air and settle down again. In the 
barracks we had bricks and falling débris from the 
Cloth Hall, but nothing more, and these slight disadvan- 
tages were easilv outweighed bv the c,o,mfort in which we 
lived. Everv man had a bed, and, as the barracks' water 
supply was still in working order, we ail had baths. 
A piano was borrowed from tbe Artillery, and provided 
us with an excellent concert, which vas held in one of 
the larger rooms, and helped us to forget the war for a 
time, in spite of a *0-foot crater in the Barrack Square, 
and the ever-present possibility that another would 
arrive. Incidentally, the piano became later a cause of 
much trouble to us, for the police refused to allow us to 
more it through the streets without a permit from the 
Town Major; the Town Major would have nothing to 
do with the matter, having only just arrived in place of 
his predecessor, who had given us permission to bave 


the piano, and had then been wunded (Town Majors 
never lasted long in Ypres) ; and the Gendarmerie would 
not accept responsibility, so in the end we had to leave 
it in the barracks. The o.ther txvo companies, though 
not so comfortablv housed, n'one the less had an enioy- 
able time bv the lake side, chasing the wild fowl, and 
xvatching the shelling of Ypres. 
Just at this time several changes took place in the 
personnel of the Brigade and the Battalion. First, Brig.- 
Gen. G. C. Kemp, R.E., late C.R.E., 6th Division, xvas 
appointed our Brigade Cmmander in place of General 
Clifford, who left us to take up an appointment in 
England, having been exactlv six monlhs in command. 
Capt. Bromfield, our Adjutant, whose health had been 
bad for the past month, was finallv compelled to go to 
Hospital, whence he was sh.ortly afterwards transferred 
to England. As his assistant, Lieu.t. Vincent was also 
awav sick, Lieut. Langdale was appointed Adjutant, 
while nd Lieut. C. H. F. \Vollaston took the place of 
Lieut. A. T. Sharpe as machine gun OEcer, the latter 
having left sick to Hospital at the end of July. Lieut. 
Moore sprained his ankle, and nd Lieut. R. C. L. Mould 
went down with lever, both being sent home, and with 
them went 2nd Lieut. L. H. Pearson, vho had severe 
concussion, as the result of being knocked dovn bv a 
Minenwerfer bomb. Capt. Bland became -°nd in com- 
mand with the tank of Major, and Captain R. Hastings 
and Lieut. R. D. Farmer vere now commanding "A " 
and "C " Companies. Capt. M. Barton, our original 
medical officer, had cne out in June and relieved Lieut. 
Manfield, who had been temporarily taking his place. 
\Ve had als,o one reinforcement--nd Lieut. G. B. 
\Villiams, posted to " D " Company, who the following 


tour lost 2nd Lieut. C. R. Knighton wh.o. sprained his 
knee. At the saine rime Serjt. A. Garratt, of "A " 
Company, became C.S.M. of " I)" in place of C.S.M. 
J. Cooper, who was sent home xvith lever. 
On the 16th August we went once more to the line for 
a six-day to.ur, which pr,cwed to be the first in which out 
artillery began to show a distinct superiority to the 
encrer's, not onlv in accuracv but in weight of shell. 
Several 8 n and 9.2 « Howitzers appeared in the Salient 
and, on the evening of the 18th, we carried out an 
organized bombardment of the lines opp,osite " 50 " 
trench, paying special attention to the neighbourhood of 
the Minenwerfer. The accuracy of these large 
Howitzers was surprising, and thev obtained several 
direct bits on the Boche front line, the resulting 
display o.f flying sandbags and trench timbers being 
watched with the utmost pleasure bv almost everv man 
in the Battalion. The enemv retaliated with salvoes of 
whizz-bangs on " ,)0," and a few on " AI; " and " A7," 
but did hot carrv out anv extensive bombardment, 
though, when relieved bv the Lincolnshires on the 2nd, 
we had had upwardse,f 45 casualties. Among the killed 
was L/Cpl. Biddles of " A " Çompany, who had risked 
death manv times on patrol, onlv to be hit when sitting 
quietly in a trench eating lais breakfast. This N.CO., 
old enough to bave lais son serving in the company with 
him, was never happier than when wandering about in 
No Man's Land, either bv dav or night, and from the 
first to the last dav of everv tour he spent lais time 
either patrolling, or preparing for lais next patrol. Earlv 
in the morning of the :ard we reached once more the 
hu'ts at Ouderdom, having at last had the sense to have 
the limbers to meet us at Kruisstraat to carrv packs, 


which at this rime we alwavs too.k into the line with us. 
\\'e had been awav from even but civilisation for twentv- 
four days--quite long enough when those davs have o 
be spent in the mud, noise and discomfort of the Salient. 
Out rest, while fortunatelv comparatively free of 
working parties, contained txvo features of interest, an 
inspection bv our new Brigadier, and an oflîcers' cricket 
match a.¢ainst the 16th Lancers. For the first we were 
able, with the aid of a recentlv-arrived draft of 100 men, 
to parade moderatelv strong, and Gen. Kemp was well 
sa, tisfied xvith out " turn-out." It was, however, to be 
regretted that the onlv soldier to xhom he spoke hap- 
pened to be a blacksmith, for which trade xe had the 
previous dav sent to Brigade Headquarters a " nil " 
return. The cricket match was a .reat success, and 
thanks to some excellent battin. bv Lieut. Langdale, we 
came awav victorious. The light training which we 
carried out each dav now included a verv considerable 
amount of bomb throwing, and it seemed as though the 
bomb was to be ruade the chier weapon of the infantrv 
soldier, instead of the rifle and ba.v,net, which alwavs 
bas been, and alwavs xvill be, a far better weapon than 
anv bomb. However, the new act had to be learnt, 
and a Battalion bomb squad was soon formed under 
2nd Lieut. R. \\'ard Jackson, whose chier assistants 
were L/Cpl. R. H. Goodman, Ptes. \V. H. Hallam, P. 
Bowler, E. [. Hewson, A. Archer, F. \Vhitbread, J. \V. 
Percival and others, manv of whom afterwards became 
N.C.O.'s. Everv oflîcer and man had to throw a lire 
grenade, and, as there were eight or nine different kinds, 
he also had to bave some mechanical knowledge, while 
the instructor had to know considerably rnre about 
explosives than a sapper. 


The excitement of out next tour started before e 
reached Kruisstraat. Ail dav long {the :8th August} a 
single 9." Howitzer had been firing behind a farm bouse 
on the track to the lndian Transport Field, and, as we 
marched past the position b.v platoons, ail of us interested 
in watching the loading process, it suddenlv blew up, 
sending breach-block, sheets o.f cast iron and enormous 
fragments of base plate and carriage several hundred 
vards through the air. We tan at once to the nearest 
cover, but three men were lait bv falling fragments, and 
we were luckv trot to lose m,, for several of us, includ- 
ing °nd Lieut. J. Dë. Tomson, had narrow escapes. We 
eventuallv reached the line, and relieved the Lincoln- 
shires in Trenches " 49 " to " A3." Thc 3rd l)ivision 
had now taken " A4 " to " AT." Three davs later -°nd 
Lieuts. H. Moss, N. C. Stoneham and C. B. Clay joined 
us, and were posted to "A," "D'" and "B" Companies 
respectively. At the saine rime :-'nd Lieut. J. D. Hills 
was appointed Brigade Intelligence Ocer, a new post 
just introduced bv General Kemp. 
\Ve suflered the usual scattered shelling and trench 
mortaring during the first half of the tour, to which out 
Artillery could onlv repl.v lightly because they were 
saving amrnunition for an organised bombardment 
further North. However, no serious damage was done, 
so this did hot matter. The bombardment took place 
at dawn on the 1st September, and in reply the Germans, 
instead of shelling the left as was expected, concentrated 
ail their efforts on the " 50,'" " A1 " corner, starting 
with salvoes of whizz-bangs, and finishing with a heavv 
shoo,t, 8 u, 5.9 « and shrapnel, from 10.45 to mid-dav. 
Out Artillerv replled at once, but nothing would stop 
the Boche, who had the most extraordinary good fortune 


in hitting out dug-olts, causing manv casualties. 2nd 
Lieut. Clay, not yet 1 h3urs in trenches, was among 
the first to be wounded, and soon afterwards Serjt. B. 
Smith, of "B " Company, received a bad wound, to 
which he succumbed a few hours later. In "A" 
Company, except for C.S.M. Gorse's and the .qignallers', 
everv dug-out was lait, and C. E Scott and F. 
l'ringle, the two olîicers" batmen, were killed, whilc A. 
H. Cassell was badlv woundcd. The ollàcers themselves 
had two miraculous cscapes, l'ïrst, 2nd Lieuts. Tomson 
and Moss were sitting in their dug-out, when a 5.9 rr dud 
passed straight through the roof and on into the ground 
almost grazing :nd Lieut. Tomson's side. These two 
then went round to wake Capt. Hastings, who was rest- 
ing in another dug-out, and the three had only just left, 
when this too was blown in, burying Capt. Hastings' 
Sain Broxvne belt and all lais papers. Many brave 
deeds were donc during the shelling, two of which stand 
out. T. XVlaitbread, of " A " Company, hearing of the 
burying of the two officers' servants, rushed to the spot, 
and, regardless of the shells which were falling ail round, 
started to dig them out, scraping the earth away with his 
hands, until joined bv Sergeants Gore and Baxter, who 
came up with shovels. The other, whose work cannot 
be passed over, xvas out 3I.O., Captain Barton. Always 
calm and collected, )'et alwavs first on the spot if any 
were xvounded, he seemed to be in his element during a 
bombardment, and this dav was no exception. He was 
everywhere, tying up wounds helping the Stretcher 
Bearers, encouraging everyone he met, and manv a 
soldier owed his lire to the ever-present " Dot." 
On the 2nd September we were relieved by the Lincoln- 
shires again, and once more became Brigade reserve for 


six days--six of the most unpleasant davs we spent in 
the Salient. First the Railwav dug-outs, to which 
Battalion Headquarters and hall the Battalion should 
have gone, had been so badlv shelled while the Lincoln- 
shires were there that onlv one company was allowed to 
go, while the remainder were sent to bivouac at Kruis- 
straat. The fine weather came to an end the saine da}, 
and it rained hard all the tirne, which would bave been 
bad enough in bivouacs, and was worse for us who had 
to spend most of out dav on some working party, either 
dug-outs, or tr.ving to drain some hopelessly water- 
logged communication trench, such as the one from 
Manor Farm to Square \Vood. Altogether ve had a 
poor time, and vere quite glad on the 8th to return to 
trenches, where we were joined two davs later bv Lieut.- 
Col. C. H. Jones, who had returned from England and 
took over command. He had had the greatest difficultv 
in returning to France, and it was onlv when he had 
applied to the \Var Office for command of a Brigade in 
Gallipoli that the authorities at last took notice of him 
and sent him back to ris. On his arrival Maior Toller 
resumed lais duties of 2nd in command; Maior Bland 
was at the time in England sick. 
The arrival of an ohScer reinforcement was alwavs the 
signal for a Boche strafe, and the return of the Cotonel 
thev celebrated with a two davs' " hate " instead of 
one. " AI '" and " 50 " and their supports suffered 
most, and rnuch damage to trenches was done bv heavv 
Minenwerfer, 8" and 5.9 « shells. Towards evening the 
situation became quieter, but iust before 10 o'clock the 
Boche exploded a camouflet against one of out " A1 " 
mine galleries, and killed three Tunnellers, whose bodies 
we couid hot rescue owing to the gasses in the mine, 


which remained there for more than twentv-four hours. 
The next dav the bombardment of " 50 " and " 50S " 
continued, and anongst other casualties, which were 
heav.v, Capt. J. L. Gritfiths and 2nd Lieut. R. B. Farrer 
of "B " Company were both hit and had to be 
evacuated, the one with 13, the other 35 small fragments 
of shell in him. The enemv had now become so persis- 
tent that we asked for help fr, om our heavv artillery, and 
the following dav--our last in the line--we carried out 
several organized bombardments of important enemv 
centres, such as " Hill 6," to which he replied with a 
few more large " crumps " on " 50 " support and was 
then silent. In the evening the Lincolnshires took o.ur 
place, and, having lost l l killed and 39 wounded in 6 
days, we marched back to rest at Dickebusch buts. 
For some considerable time there had been manv 
rumours about a coming autumn offensive on out part, 
and on the 2"'nd September, having returned to trenches 
two davs previously, we received our first orders about 
it. \Ve were told nothing very definite except that the 
3rd and 14th I)ivisions would attack at Hooge, while 
we ruade a vigorous demonstration to draw retaliation 
from their front to ourselves, and that there would also 
be attacks on other parts of the British front. \Ve were 
to make a feint gas attack bv throwing smo,ke-bombs 
and lighting straw in front of our parapet, to frighten 
the Boche into expecting an attack along the " Hill 60 " 
--Sanctuarv \Vood front. Çapt. Burnett and lais trans- 
port were, therefore, ordered to bring up wagon-loads 
of straw, much to their annoyance, for thev alreadv had 
a bad journey every night with the rations, and extra 
horses meant extra anxietv. It was seldom that the 
transport reached Armagh \Vood without being shelled 


e.n an erdinary night, and whenever there was fighting 
in any part of the Salient, the area round Maple Copse 
becarne so hot that they had to watch for an opportunity 
and gallop through. In spite of this they never failed 
us, and rations always arrived, even in trie worst of 
On the 23rd there xvere two prelirninary bornbard- 
ments, one short but verv heavy at Hooge, the other 
lasting rnost of the rnorning on " Hill 60 "--a bluff. 
During the night it rained and the arrival of our straw 
was consequently postponed until the follo,wing night, 
which proved to be little better. The wagons were late 
and there was hot rnuch tirne to cornplete out task; 
however, ail worked their utrnost, and bv 1.0 a.rn. on 
the "25th a line of darnp straw had been spread 
our wire in front of " 50." Unfortunately, the Bat- 
talion on our right were unable to put their straw in 
position in tirne, but as the Brigade beyond thern had 
theirs, we thought this would hot rnake any difference 
to the cperation. Just before daylight a general order 
frorn G.H.Q. arrived, starting with the words, "At 
Dawn, on the 25th Septernber, the British Arrnies will 
take the offensive on the XVestern Front." \Ve felt 
that the tirne had now corne xhen the war was going to 
be won and the Boche driven out of France, and sorne of 
us were a little sorry that our part was to consist of 
nothing rnore than setting tire to sorne darnp straw. 
At 3.50 a.rn. Hooge battle started with an intense 
artillerv bornbardrnent from every gun in the salient, 
and it was an inspiring sight to stand on the ridge 
behind " ,50 "' trench and watch, through the half-light, 
the line of flashes to the west, an occasional glare show- 
ing us the towers of Ypres over the trees. The Gerrnans 


replied at once on " A1 " trench, but finding that we 
remained quiet, their batteries soon ceased tire and 
opened instead on Sanctuarv \Vood and Hooge. This 
was expected, for it vas not in the initial attack, but 
during the consolidation that the :rd 1)ivision vanted to 
draw the enemv's tire. At a few minutes belote six 
out time had corne, smoke bombs were throvn, and, 
though the wind was against us, Col. J,ones, [eeling that 
xve must make the biggest possible display, ordered the 
straw to be lit. This promptly drew tire, and in rive 
minutes there was not one single gun on our side of the 
Salient still firing" at Hooge, they had all turned on us. 
At first sight of the smoke several machine guns had 
opened tire opposite " 50 " and " 19," but these died 
awav almost at once as the Boche, thoroughly frightened 
at the prospect of gas, evacuated lais trenches. Half- 
an-hour later he actuallv bombarded lais own lines on the 
Northern slopes of " Hill 60 " with 11 tt shells, presum- 
ablv imaglning that we had occupied them. The bluff 
was c.omplete. 
But such a success cannot be purchased without loss, 
and out losses had been heavy. The Staffordshires had 
hot lit their straxv because of the vind, so that the 
enemv's retaliation, which should have been spread along 
the whole front from " A1 " to " Hill 60 " was concen- 
trated entirely on out three trenches " -19," " ,50 " and 
" Al." " C " Company (Lt. R. I). Farmer) in " 50 " 
suffered most. Choked and blinded bv the smoke from 
the strav, which blew back and filled the trench, their 
parapet blown away by salvo after salvo of small shells, 
their supports battered with 8 tt and heavy mortars, with 
no cover against the unceasing tain of shells from front 
and left, they had to bear it all in silence, unable 1:o hit 


back. Serjts. J. G. Burnham and J. Birkin were 
killed, and with tbern 10 others of the battalion, while 30 
more were vounded. Once more the " Doc." and his 
stretcher-bearers were everywhere, and rnanv who rnight 
otherwise have bled to death, owed their lires to thls 
rnarvellous man, wbo wandered round and dressed their 
xounds wherever the sbelling was hottest. At tbe first 
opening of the battle out telepbone lines to the Artillery 
were broken, and for sorne tirne we could get no support» 
but the Derby Howitzers and one of the Lincolnshire 
batteries fired a nurnber of ro.unds for us, and later, 
thanks to the efforts of Lieut. C. Morgan, R.F.A., the 
F.O.O., we were able to call on Major Meynell's 
Staffordshire batterv as xell. Bv 7.15 a.rn. ail was 
once more quiet, and we spent the test of the day 
evacuating out casualties, and trying to clear away sorne 
of the lltter ,f straw frorn out trenches. 
The following day passed quietly, and in the evenl-ng, 
relieved bv the Lincolnshires, we rnarched out of 
trenches. Ten minutes later the enernv blew up trench 
'" 47 " and opened heavy rifle tire on all sides of the 
salient. The Battalion was rnarching bv cornpanies, 
and "A" and "D" had just reached Manor Farrn 
when the noise began, and bullets fell all round thern. 
Capt. Jefferies, who was leading, was hit alrnost at o,nce 
and fell rnortallv wounded, never again recovering 
consciousness, and several others becarne casualties 
before the part 3" could reach cover on the far side of the 
Farrn. " B " and " C " were still in Arrnagh \Vood, 
so Colonel Jones at once decided to man the new breast- 
work between it and Square \Vood, and there tbey 
rernalned until the situation becarne once more quiet. 
Finally, at rnidhight, we rnoved into our Brigade Sup- 


port positions, Headquarters and "B " Company in 
Raihvav Dug-outs, '" C " Company in l)eeping Dug-o.uts 
near the Lake, and the others in Kruisstraat bivouacs. 
Even now we were not allowed to live in peace, for the 
follmving morning, aL 11.0 a.m., the enemv bombarded 
Railway Dug-outs for two hours, firing 90 8 tt shells, and 
(so savs the \Var l)iary) " plenty of shrapnel." No 
one was lait, though Col. Jones' dug-out and the Orderlv 
Room were destroyed, and the bomb store, which was 
tait and set on tire, xvas onlv saved from destruction bv 
the efforts of C.S.M. Lovett, who with t'te. Love and 
one or two others, fetched water from the pond and put 
out the tire. From 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. the dug-outs were 
again bombarded and a few destroyed, so that 
we were not sorry when, on the 1st October the V'ilt- 
shire Regiment came to relieve us, and we marched back 
to bivouacs aL Ouderdom. 
On the "2nd, alLer a farewell address to the oflàcers bv 
the Crps Commander, the Battalion marched during 
the morning to Abeele, where aL 3.30 p.m. we entrained 
for the South and said to the " Salient " for 
ever. XVe were no.t sorrv to go, even though there were 
rumours of a coming battle, and out future destination 
was unknown. 


1st Oct., 1915. 15th Oct.» 1915. 
\VE journeyed southwards in three parts. Battalion 
Headquarters and the four Companies went first, 
reached F.ouquereuil Station near Béthune after a six 
hours" run, and marched at once to Bellerive near 
Gonnehem. Here, at noon thc following day--the 3rd 
October--thev were joined bv Lieut. \Vollaston with 
the machine guns and ammunition limbers which had 
entrained at Godewaersvelde and travelled all night, and 
at 4.30 p.m., by Capt. John Burnett with the rest of 
the Transport. The latter had corne by road, spending 
one night in bivouacs at Vieux Berquin on the way. 
This more brought us into the First Armv under Sir 
Douglas Haig, who took an earl.v opportunity of being 
introduced to all Commanding Officers and Adjutants 
in the Division, coming to Brigade Headquarters at 
Gonnehem on the afternoon of the 3rd, where Col. 
Jones and Lieut. G. \V. Allen went to a conference. 
Lieut. Allen had become Adjurant when Capt. Griffiths 
was wounded, and Capt. Langdale was wanted for 
command of "B " Company. Our other Company 
Commanders remained unchanged except that Major 
Bland returned from England and took charge of " D." 
The billets at Bellerive, consisting of large, clean 


farm-houses, were verv comfortable, but we were hot 
destined to stay there long, and on the 6th marched 
through Chocques to Hesdigneul, where there was less 
accommodation. The fo,lloving day there was a 
conference at Brigade Headquarters, and we learnt out 
rate. On the 25th September, the opening dav of the 
Loos battle, the left of the British attack had been 
directed against " Fosse 8 "--a coal naine with its 
machine buildings, miners' cottages and large low slag 
dump--protected by a system of trenches knoxvn as the 
"Hohenzollern Redoubt," standing on a small fise 
vards west of the mine. This had all been captured 
bv the 9th I)ivision, but owing to counter-attacks from 
Auchv and Haisnes, had had to be abandoned, and the 
enemv had once inore occupied the Redoubt. A second 
attempt, made a few davs later bv the 28th I)ivislon, 
had been disastrous, for we had had heavv casualties, 
and gained practically no ground, and except on the 
right, where we had occupied part of " Big \Villie " 
trench, the Redoubt was still intact. Another attempt 
was now to be made at an earlv date, and, while 12th 
and 1st l)ivisions attacked to the South, the North 
Midland vas to sveep over the Redoubt and capture 
Fosse 8, consolidating a new line on the East side of it. 
Apart fron the Fos.e itself, where the fortifications 
and their strength vere practically unknowla, the 
Redoubt alone vas a very strong point. It formed a 
salient in the enelny's line and both the Northern area, 
" Little \Villie," and the southern " Big \Villie," were 
deep, well-fortified trenches, with several machine gun 
positions. Behind these, rata from N.E. and S.E. into 
the nd line of the Redoubt, two more deep trenches, 
" N. Face " and " S. Face," thought to be used for 


communication purposes only, and leading back to 
" Fosse " and " Dump " trenches nearer the slag-heap. 
The last two were said to be shallow and unoccupied. 
In addition to these defences, the redo,ubt and its 
approach from out line were well covered bv machine 
gun posts, for, on the North, " Mad l'oint " overlooked 
our present front line and No Man's Land, while 
" Madagascar " Cottages and the Slag-heap commanded 
ail the test of the country. The scheme for the lattle 
vas that the Staffordshires on the right and out Brigade 
vith the Monmouthshires on the left would make the 
assault, the Sherwood Foresters remain in reserve. 
Before the attack there would be an intense artillerv 
bombardment, which would eflectuallv deal with " Mad 
t'oint " and other strongholds. In our Brigade, General 
Kemp decided to attack with two Battalions side bv 
side in front, 4th Leicestershires and 5th Lincolnshires, 
follmved bv 4th Lincolnshires and Monmouthshires, each 
extended along the whole Brigade frontage, while, 
except for one or two carrying parties, he would keep 
us as his own reserve. The date for the battle had hOt 
been fixed, but it would probably be the 10th. 
Reconnaissances started at once, and on the 8th Col. 
Jones and all Company Commanders and 2nds in Com- 
mand went bv motor 'bus to Vermelles, and recon- 
noitred out trenches, held at the time bv the Guards 
Division. Out first three lines, where the assemblv 
would take place the night before the battle, were ail 
carefullv reconnoitred as well as the " Up" and 
" Down " communication trenches--Barts Alley, Cen- 
tral, \Vater and Left Bovaus. These were simply eut 
into the chalk and had not been boarded, so, with the 
slightest rain, became hopelessly slippery, while to 


make xvalking worse a drain generall.v ran down the 
centre of the trench, too narrow to walk in and too 
broad to allow one to walk with one foot each side. 
From the front line we were able to sec the edge of 
the Redoubt, Mad Point, and the mine with its buildings 
and Slag-heap. The last dominated ever.vthing, and 
could be seen from everwvhere. It was hot very en- 
co.uraging to sec the numbers of out dead from the 
previous two attacks, still lying out in No Man's l.and, 
whence it had hot yet been possible to carry them in. 
The party reached home soon after 5 p.m., and a feu" 
minutes later a heavv bombardment in the direction of 
Vermelles vas followed by an order to " stand to," 
which we did until midnight, when ail was quiet ag'ain, 
and we xvere allowed to .go to bed. 
The following dav the remainder of the officers and a 
party of selected N.C.O.'s vent again to the line to 
reconnoitre. \Vhile the, were awav we heard the 
meaning of the previous night's noise. The Boche had 
attacked out posts in " Big \Villie " held by a Battalion 
of the Coldstream Guards, and after a long fight had 
been driven back with heavy losses, leaving manv dead 
behind them. Both sides had used no other weapon 
than the bomb, and out success vas attributed to out 
new Mills grenade, which could be throvn further and 
vas casier to handle than the (.erman stick bomb, and 
the Çoldstreams vere said to bave thrown more than 
5,000 of these during the fight. This llttle encounter 
had tvo results. First, it definitely postponed out 
attack to the 13th; secondl'y, it brought the Mills 
grenade into so much prominence that we were ordered 
to practise with that and that only, and to ensure that 
during the next three days everv man threw them 


frequently. At the same time we were definitely 
promised that no other grenade wolld be issued during 
out coming battle. 
As it was hOt intended that we should go into trenches 
until the night belote the assault, only very few of the 
N.C.O.'s and none of the men would have anv oppor- 
lunitv of previously studying  the ground. In order, 
therefore, that all might be made familiar w[th the 
general appearance and proportionate distances of the 
various obiectives, a small scale model o,f the Redoubt 
and Fosse 8 was built opposite 1)ivi.sional Headquarters 
at I iosnay, and Sunday afternoon was spent in studying 
this and explainingf full details to all concerned. In 
the evening the Corps Commander, (;eneral Haking, 
spoke to all .o,flicers of the I)ivision in the Chateau court- 
yard, and told us somc further details of the attack. 
'tVe xvere to be supported bv the largest artillerv con- 
centration ever ruade bv the British during the war up 
to that time, and there xvould be 400 guns covering 
the l)ivisional front. ['nder thcir tire we need have no 
fear that anv machine guns could poçssibly be left in 
"Mad Point," "Madagascar," or anv of the other points 
due for bombardment. At the same time he told us 
that if the wind were in the right direction we should 
be further assisted bv the "auxiliarv." In this case 
there would be an hour's bombardment, fo,llowcd bv an 
hour's " auxiliary," during which time the guns would 
have to be silent because High Explosive was apt to 
disperse chlorine gas. Al the end off the second hour 
we should advance and find the occupants all dead. 
Attaeks at daxvn and dusk had verv common 
latelv and seemed to be expected by the Boche; we 
would therefore attack at - p.m. 


During the next two davs we spent most of out time 
throxving Mills grenades, and certainlv round them a 
very handv weapon, which could be thrown much 
further than out previous patterns. \Ve also had to make 
several eleventh hour changes in perso.tlnel, Major Bland 
and Lieut. Allen were both compelled bv sickness to 
go to Hospital--the former to England. It was ex- 
ceptionally bad luck for boh, to endure the routine of 
six months' trenches and training and then bave to leave 
their unit on the eve of its first great fight, in which 
both these officers were so keen to take part. In their 
places Lieut. Hills was appointed to " l)" Company, 
but as he was taken bv General Kemp for Intelligence 
\Vork, 2nd Lieut. G. B. Villiams t.ook command. No 
one was appointed Adjutant, and Colonel Jones decided 
that as oflicers were scarce he and Major Toller would 
between them share the work at Battalion Headquarters. 
Two new officers also arrived and were posted, 2nd 
Lieut. G. T. Shipsto.n to " C " and 2nd Lieut. L. Trevor 
Jones to " 1)'" Co.mpany. 
On the 12th, after some last words of advice from 
Colonel Jones, who addressed the Battalion, we set off 
to match to trenches, wearing what afterwards became 
known as " Fighting Order," with great coats rolled 
and strapped to out backs. The Brigade band accom- 
panied us through Verquin, and a Staffordshire band 
played us into Saillv Labourse, where General Montagu- 
Stuart-'Vortlev watched us turn on to the main road. 
There was an hour's halt for teas between here and 
Noyelles, and finallv at 10-5 p.m. we marched into 
Vermelles. The next eight hours were bad, for it took 
eight hours to reach out assemblv position, the third 
]ineeight hours standing in hopelessly congested coin- 


munication trenches, waiting to mowe forward. For 
rnen heavilv laden--each carried six sandbags and every 
third man a shovel--this delav was verv tiring, for it 
rneant continuous standing ith no room to test, and 
resulted in out arriving in thc line tired out, to find that 
it was alreadv tirne to bave breakfasts. The Reserve 
Line was full of troops, but it was found possible to give 
all a hot breakfast, and manv managed to snatch a 
couple of hours" sleep bcfore the bombardment opened 
at 12 noon. 
Compared with the bombardments of the Somme and 
the later battles, our bombardment was small, but it 
seemed to us at the rime terrific, and it was verv en- 
couraging to see direct bits on the mine workins and 
the various trenches. The enernv retaliated mostlv on 
communication trenches, using sorne verv heaw" shells, 
but hot doing a great deal of damage. At 1 p.m. 
chlorine gas was discharged from cvlinders packed in 
o,ur front line, and at the sarne rime a quantity of smoke 
bombs and mortar shells were fired towards the Redoubt 
by parties of our Divisional Artillery who were hot 
covering us in the battle. The enemv at once altered 
his retaliation targets, and opened a heavv tire on out 
front line, trying to burst the gas cylinders, and suc- 
ceeding in filling the trench with gas in three places 
by so doing. At 1-50 p.m. the gas and smoke was 
gradually diminished and allowed to disperse, and, ten 
min.utes later, vearing gas helmets rolled on their 
heads, the leading waves rnoved out to the assatdt. 
The start was disastrous. Colonel Martin and his 
Adjutant were both wounded, Colonel Sandall was 
wounded and his Adjutant killed in the first few minutes, 
and the machine gun tire along the whole of out front 


was terrific. Still, the nature of the ground aflorded 
thern sorne protection and thev pushed forward, lo..sin( 
heavilv at everv step, until thev had crossed the first line 
of the Redoubt. The 4th Lincolnshires and Monrnouth- 
shires fo.llowed, and we moved up towards the front 
line so as tobe readv if required, and at the same time 
a party of our Signallers went forward to lav a line 
to the newly captured position. L.-Corpl. Fisher him- 
self took the table and, re.ardless of the machine gun 
tire, calmlv reeled out his line across No Man's Land, 
passed through the cnemv's wire and reached the 
Redoubt. Communication was established, and we were 
able to learn that ail wavcs had crossed the first Gerrnan 
line and were going forward against considerable oppo- 
sition. Meanwhile, on the right the Staffordshires had 
fared far worse even than our Brigade. Starting frorn 
their second line, they were more exposed to rnachine 
gun tire from all sides, and verv few reached even their 
.own front line, whilst row upon row were wiped out in 
their gallant effort to advance. 
In case of faîlure and the consequent necessity of 
holding our original front line against strong counter 
attacks, it had been arranged that our machine guns 
should take up permanent positions in this line. This 
was donc, and Lieut. ,Vollaston was supervising the 
vork of his tearns and improving their positions when 
he saw that a considerable number of rnen were cominç 
back fr,m the Redoubt. Their officers and N.C.O.'s 
killed, they thernselves, worn otut bv the exertions of the 
past 24 hours, hall gassed by the chlorine which still 
hung about the shell holes, shot at by machine guns 
frorn every quarter, had been broken by bornbing attacks 
from everv trench they attacked and now, having 


thrown all their bombs, xvere coming back. The 
situation was critical, and Lieut. \VoIlaston, deciding 
to leave his guns noxv that they xvere in good positions, 
ruade lais xvav along the trench and tried tc raiiv the 
stragglers. Many were too badly shaken to go forward 
again, but some answered lais call and coIiecting some 
more grenades the little party .tarted back towards the 
Redoubt. Lieut. \VoIiaston was knocked doxvn and 
wounded in the back bv a shell, but stili went forward, 
and, reaching the first German line, turned left towards 
" Little \Villie," which the Boche xvas stiii holding in 
force. At the saine time (;enerai Kemp ordered two of 
our Companies to be sent up to assist, and Colonel 
Jones sent word to " B " and " A " to more up. One 
message from ttie Redoubt which reached Colonel Jones 
at this time said " Piease send bombs and officers." 
Captain Langdale decided to advance in line, and 
leaving their trenches the four platoons started off in 
that formation. The platoon commanders became 
casuaities in the first few yards, 2nd Lieut. Marriott 
being xvounded and the txvo others gassed, and bv the 
time ttiev reached our front line the Company Com- 
mander xxas leading them himself. \Valking along with 
his pipe in his mouth, Captain Langdale might bave 
been at a Field Day, as he caimiv signaIIed his right 
platoon to keep up in line, with " keep it up, Oaktiam," 
as thev crossed our trench. The line was kept, and so 
perfectly that manv of the stragglers who had co*ne back 
turned and went forward again with them. But once 
more as thev were reactiing the German front line came 
that deadlv machine ,-un tire, and ttieir allant Com- 
mander was one of the first to fall, kiIIed xvith a buffet 
in the head. C.S.M. Lovett was badlv xvounded at ttie 


saine time, Serjt. Franks killed, and the Company, 
now leaderless, was broken into is.olated parties fighting 
with bombs in the various trenches. 
" A " Company followed. Keeping lais platoons 
more together and on a smaller frontage, Captain 
Hastings decided to attempt a bayonet attack against 
the German opposition on the left of the Redoubt, and 
himself led lais mên up to the attack. Again l'latoon 
Commandcrs wcre the first to fall, and as they climbed 
out of out trenches, nd Lieut. Laxxton was mortallv 
wounded in the stomach and "-'nd Lieut. l»etch badlv 
shot through the arm. However, this did hot delav 
the attack, and the Company, crossing the German front 
line, quickened their pace and ruade for the junctions 
of '" Little \Villie " and " N. Face." Once more bombs 
and machine guns were too hot for them, and first 
Capt. Hastings, then nd Lieut. Moss were killed near 
the German second line, leaving the Compan.v in the 
hands of nd Lieut. Tomson and C.S.M. Gorse, wh0. at 
once organizêd the platoons for the defence of the second 
line, realizing that it was usêless to trv to advance 
further. 2nd Lieut. Petch, in spite of his wound, re- 
mained several hours with his platoon, but erentually 
had to leave them. The ground xvas covered with the 
dead and wounded of the othêr Battalions, Fosse and 
Dump trenches were filled with Germans and machine 
guns, " S. Face " and both " \Villies " were full of 
bombers, and worst o'f ail the machine guns of liad 
Point, Madagascar and the Slag-heap had apparentlv 
escaped untouched. There was only one thing left to 
do, and that to hold what we had got against these 
bombing attacks, and consolidate out new position 
without delav. 


Meanwhile, in addition to our two Companies, there 
were several otber parties and units fighting in various 
parts of the Redoubt, and of these Colonel Evill, of the 
Monmouthshires, himself on the spot, took command, 
sending doxn for more men and more bombs. Of these 
little parties the most successful was that under Lieut. 
XVollaston, who, although wounded, led a bombing 
attack into " Little \Villie," and pushed on so resolutelv 
that he gained some eighty yards of trench belote being 
compelled to withdraw owing to lack of bombs and 
ammunition. Unfortunately there was no other party 
near to help him, or " Little \Villie " would probably 
bave been ours. On the right, Lieut. Madge, of the 
Lincolnshires, held on for an incredibly long time with 
only a few machine gunners far in advance of anyone 
else, nly coming back after 5 p.m., when he found 
that part of the captured ground had been evacuated 
by us. Here, too, Lieut. Morgan, o.f the Stafford- 
shire Brigade R.F.A., was killed leading his gunners 
forward to help the infantrv who were in diflïculties. 
Some of "D i, Company were also in action at this 
time. Thirteen and Fourteen Platoons set off, as 
originally ordered, under Royal Engineer oflïcers, to 
put out barbed wire in front of the Redoubt, but 
as they reached out front line were heavily shelled and 
lost touch with the Engineers, many of whom xxere 
killed. 2nd Lieut. Stoneham had alreadv been badlv 
wounded, and Lieut. \Villiams, with a blood-stained 
bandage tying up a wounded ear, was with his other 
hall Company, so the two platoons were left without 
officers. Serjt XV. G. Phipps, who was leading, knew 
othing about the wiring orders, having been told 
simply to fo,llow the R.E., so he ordered his platoon to 


collect ail the bombs thev could find and make for the 
Redoubt. Serjt. G. Billings with II followed, and the 
half Company entered the fight soon after " A " 
Compan_v. Their rate was the saine. Serjt. Billings, 
xvith Corporals A. Freeman and T. \V. Squires, were all 
killed trying to use their bavonets against " N. Face," 
aud the test u ere scattered and joned the various bornb 
parties. F. \Vhitbread and A. B. Law found themselves 
in " Little \Villie," and helped rush the enemv along 
it, onlv to be forced back each rime through lack of 
bombs. \Vhitbread was particularl.v brave later, when 
he went alone over the top to find out the situation on 
their flank. One other officer was conspicuous, in the 
Redoubt, in out trenches, everyxvhere in fact where he 
could be of use--Captain Ellwood, in charge of machine 
guns and forward bomb stores, was absolutelv inde- 
fatigable, and quiet and fearless performed miracles of 
energy and endurance. 
At 5 p.m., the German bombing attacks increased 
in vigour, and this rime a large part of out garrison 
of the German second line trench gave way and came 
back to the original front line of the Redoubt--some 
even to out front line. \Vho gave the order for this 
withdrawal was never discovered, but there was un- 
doubtedlv an order " Retire " passed along the line, 
possibly started bv the Boche himself. Such a message 
coming to tired and leaderless men was sure to have a 
disastrous effect, and in a few minutes we had given 
up all except Point 60, a trench junctlon at the N. end 
of " Big \Villie," and the front lin.e of the Redoubt. 
In this last there were still plenty of men, and these, 
led bv a few resolute officers and N.C.O.'s such as 
-'2nd Lieut. Tomson, C.S.M. Gorse, and others, were 


prepared to hold it against all attacks. The original 
parados was eut into tire steps, bomb blocks were built 
in " Little \Villie " and " North Face," and the garrison 
generally reorganized. Messages were sent for more 
bombs, and these were carried up in bags and boxes 
from Brewery Keep, Vermelles to the old front line, 
and thence across No Man's Land by parties of "C " 
and " D " Company. 
\Vhile this took place in the Redoubt, Colonel Jones 
occupied the old front line with " C " Company (Lieuts. 
Farmer and Shields), and elements of " 1)" Company 
occupying the bars which were free from gas. The 
trench had been badlv battered by shells at mid-day, and 
there were manv killed and wounded still in it, amongst 
the latter being Colonel Martin, of the 4th Battalion, 
who garrisoned about 100 vards bv himself. Shot 
through the knee and in great pain, he refused to go 
down, but sat at the top of " Barts Aller " receiving 
reports, sending information to Brigade, and directing 
as far as possible the remnants of his Battalion. For 
twentv-one hours he remained, calm and collected as 
e.ver, and only consented to be carried out when sure 
that all his Battalion had left the RedoaJbt. Meanwhile 
further to the left along the saine trench, Colonel Jones 
ruade it his business to keep the Redoubt supplied with 
bombs. He was here, there, and everywhere, directin 
parties, findin K bomb stores, helping, encouraKing, and 
givin K a new lease of lire to all he met. Manv brave 
deeds were done bv N.C.O.'s and men and never heard 
of, but one stands out remembered bv all who were 
there. L.-Corpl. Cayson, of " I)" Company, durin 
the time that his platoon was in this trench, spent all 
his time out in the old No Man's Land, under heavv 


machine gun tire, carrying in the wounded, many of 
xvhom would bave perished but for his bravery. 
,Vith darkness came orders that the Sherwood 
Foresters xvould take over the line from us, but long 
before they could arrive our Companies in the Redoubt 
were being ver)" hard pressed, and scarcely held their 
own. The German bombers never for a moment ceased 
their attack, and for soxne time our bombers held them 
with diflicultv. Then came the cruellest blow of 
fortune, for manv of the bags and boxes of bombs sent 
up during the afternoon were round to contain bombs 
without detonators, manv others were filled with types 
of grenades we had never seen. In spite of this there 
was one officer vho alvays managed to find the here- 
withal t) repl.v to the German attacks. Escaping death 
b.v a miracle, for his great height ruade him very 
conspicuous, 2nd Lieut. Tomson stood for hours at one 
of the bombing blocks, smoking cigarettes and throwing 
bombs. Vith him was Pte. P. Bo.wler, who proved 
absolutelv tireless, while in another part of the line 
Pte. ,V. H. Hallam and one or two others carried out 
a successful bombing exploit on their own, driving back 
the enemv far enough to allow a substantial block to 
be built in a vital place. To add to the horrors of the 
situation, the garrison had ever in their ears the cries 
of the many wounded, who lav around calling for 
Stretcher Bearers or f, or water, and to vhom they could 
give no help. The Bearers had worked all day magni- 
ficently, but there is a limit to human endurance, and 
thev could carrv no more. Even so, when no one else 
was strong enough, Captain Barton vas out in front 
of the Redoubt, regardless of bombs, and thinking only 
.of the wounded, many of vhom he helped to out lines, 


xvhile to others, too badlv hit to more, he gave xater 
or morphia. Hour after hour he worked on alone, and 
no one will ever know ho,w many lires he saved that 
Soon after 6 p.m., the Sherwood Foresters started to 
arrive and gradually worked their wav up towards the 
Redoubt, a long slow business, for the communication 
trenches were all ch.oked and no one was very certain of 
the route. One large party arriving at midnight 
happened to meet Colonel Jones, who advised them to 
try goln5 over the top, and actually gave them their 
direction bv the stars. So, accurate were his instructions 
that the party arrived exactly at the Redoubt--inciden- 
tallv at a moment when the Germans were launching a 
counter attack over the open. Such an attack might 
well bave been disastrous, but the Boche, seeing  the 
Sherwood Foresters and over-estimating their strength, 
retired hurriedlv. Bv dawn the Sherwood Foresters had 
taken over the whole Redoubt, though many of out 
"A " and "13" Companies were hot relieved and 
staved there until the following night. Our task now 
was the defence of the original British front line, for 
which Colonel Jones was ruade responsible, and which 
we garrisoned with " C " (Farmer} right, " D " 
(\\ïlliams) centre, and "A " and "B "' (Tomson) left. 
Major Toller, several rimes knocked dox n bv shells and 
suffering from concussion, Lieut. XVollaston wounded, 
and nd Lieut. XVvnne gassed, had ail been sent down, 
and nd Lieut. \Villiams followed some hours later. 
Otlr onlv other oFficer, Lieut. R. \Uard Jackson, was in 
charge of the Grenadiers, and spent his rime in the 
Redoubt organizing bomb attacks and posts and trench 
blocks, himself throwing manv bombs, and in a very 
quiet wav doing a verv great deal. 


Twice during the night General Kemp visited the line, 
and went round the Redoubt before it was handed o-,-er 
to the Sherwood Foresters. He wanted ver'« much to 
do more for the wounded, but the Stretcher Bearers 
were worked out, and though volunteers worked hard 
and rescued many, there were still numbers who had to 
be left until the following night. Rations were brought 
bv the Company Q.M. Serjeants under Çapt. \Vorle_v 
to the Quarry--a few hundred yards behind the Ieft of 
our old front line--and waited there until parties could 
be sent for them, a marrer of several hours. How- 
e'«er, they were distributed at dawn, when they were 
verv welcome, for manv had been nearly twenty-four 
hours without food. 2nd Lieut. Tomson was one of 
of these, remarking, as CS.M. Gorse gave him some 
rum, that he had had nothing since the attack but " two 
biscuits and over 300 cigarettes ! " 
Throughout the following dav xve remained in o-ur 
old front line, listening to the continuous bombing 
attacks in the Redo.ubt, and giving what assistance we 
could with carrying parties. The morning was ver.v misty, 
and in expectation of a counter attack we xxere ordered 
to keep double sentries, so that the trench was more than 
usuallv full of men, when the enemv .uddenlv bom- 
barded it with heavv shells. There were several direct 
bits, and the trench was blown in in man.,," places, 
while one shell fell into the middle of a machine gun 
team. Serjt. \V. Hall, of " I)" Company, L/Corpl. 
A. F. Brodribb, and Pte. Bartlam were ail killed, and 
the rest of the team were badly shaken, until C.S.M. 
Gorse and Corpl. B. Staniforth came along and helped 
to reorganize the post with a few new men. The trench 
contained no real cover, and the bombardment lasted for 


about half an hour; a severe ordeal for men who had 
alreadv had a stiff fight followed by a night of bornbing. 
Many of the telephone lines were broken, and L.-Corpl. 
Fisher, who had done such gallant work the pervious 
da.v, was kiiled entering our trench just after he had 
re-opencd communication. In the afternoon we were 
again bornbarded, this time with lachrymatory as well 
as H.E. sheiis, but our casualties were hot so heavy, 
though the trench was again demolished in several 
places. Finaily at 11-30 p.m. the Sherwood Foresters 
started to relieve us. They arrived in small parties, 
and some did hOt appear untii dawn the fo,iloxing da3' , 
so that relief was hOt cornplete until 8 a.m. \Ve then 
went back to Lancashire trench between the Raiiwav 
and Vermelles, where we slept for several hours. 
At 2 p.m., motor 'buses arrived to take the Brigade 
back to Hesdigneul, and ruade seerai journeys, but 
had hot room for all the Battalion, so î0 set off to match 
under Major Toller, who had returned to us in 
Lancashire trench. It proved to be a dark night, and 
the party lost vay sligbtl.v in Verquigneul, but 
finaliv arrived singing (led bv C.S.M. Gorse) at 
Hesdigneui, and reached their billets about midnight. 
In so far that Fosse , stiii remained in the hands of 
the enemy, the battle was a failure, but in capturing 
the Redoubt the Brigade had prevented it being a 
ccmplete failure. Though we only held the German 
front line and one smali point in advance of it, we ruade 
it impossible for the enemv to hoid anv of the Redoubt 
himself, and so robbed him of lais commanding position 
o.n the high ground. Our casualties had been heavy, 
and the two attacking Battalions had onlv one officer 
left between them, while we in reserve had lost four 


officers and  men killed, six officers and 1:2 men 
wounded and 18 men missing. Two otficers and 2 men 
had been gassed, but presently returned to us. The 
causes of out failure were mainly two. First, the 
failure of the Artillerv to wipe out "Mad Point " and 
Madagascar and their machine guns ; secondly, the gas. 
This last was undoubtedlv a mistake. It caused us 
several casualties; it marie it necessary for the attackers 
to wear rolled up gas masks which impeded them, it 
stopped our H.E. bombardment an hour before the 
assatllt and so enal)led German machine gunners to corne 
back to their gulls, and above ail it had a bad effect 
on us, for we knew its deadlv effects, and many a man 
swallowing a mouthftll or smelling it became frightened 
of the consequences and was useless for further fighting. 
There was also the mistake of leaving Fosse and Dump 
trenches untouched bv the bombardment, because they 
were reported weeks before tobe shallow and un- 
ccupied; as it happened we round them full of men. 
Finally, there were the bombs. \Ve had been promised 
Mills only, and vet found manv other types during the 
battle. Possiblv a shortage of Mills might account for 
this, but there can be no possible excuse for sending 
grenades into a fight without detonators, and no punish- 
ment could be too harsh for the officer who was 
responsible for this. 
Honours and Rewards were hot given in those davs 
as thev were later, and manv a brave deed went un- 
recognized. There were o.nlv nine D.C.M.'s in the 
Division, and of these the Brigade won seven, to which 
we contributed one, Hallam, the grenadier. Of the 
officers, Capt. Barton, Lieut. Vollaston, and nd Lieut. 
Villiams received the Militarv Cross, and the Colonel's 


naine appeared in the next list for a C.M.G. It was 
hot until long afterwards that those who had been with 
him began to talk of the splendid deeds of nd Lieut. 
Tomson throughout the day and night of the 13th, 
and he was never one to talk about himself. Had 
anyone in authoritv known at the rime he, too, would 
bave had some decoration. 



15th Oct., 1915. 28th Jan., 1916. 
TH who]c Brigade was ]eft verv weak after the battle, 
and there was a seri'ous shortage of officers. As 
in this respect xve, as a Battalion, had suffered least, 
we had to supply the needs of other units, and Major 
Toller went to command the 4th Battalicn, taking with 
him 2nd Lieut. Trevor Jones, a. thev had no subaltern 
otîicers. At the saine rime 2nd Lieut. H. E. Chapman 
was sent to help the 5th Lilacolnshires, and Capt. 
Burnett and Lieut. XVard Jackson went to Brigade 
Headquarters to look after Transport and Bombs, while 
their duties in the Battalion were performed bv Ser). 
Brodribb and Serjt. Goodman. We could not afford a 
machine gun officer, so Serjt. Jacques was ruade 
responsible for the guns until an oPficer reinforcement 
should arrive. " A," " B" and " I) " Companies 
were commanded bv Lieuts. Tomson, Vynne, and 
Shields, and, as Lieut. Allen was still in hospital, Lieut. 
Hills acted as Adjutant. The ofiicers ail messed 
together at first, and tried to maintain the old cheerful 
spirit of the Battalion mess--a little ditîicult after 
losing in one dav more than three-quarters of the mess. 
On Sunday, General Montagu-Stuart-Vortley came 


to talk to the Battalion after Church parade, and 
congratulated us on the fighting, sa.ring that, consider- 
ing the odds against us, he thought we had done very 
well indeed. He then went round the ranks talking 
to some of the men who had taken part in the battle, 
and was verv amused bv some of the answers he 
received to his questions. One scldier, asked what ho 
had done in the fight, replied that he had " blown hall 
a Boche oflïcer's leg off with a bomb." The General 
thought this excellent, but wanted to know why he had 
chosen hall an officer only, and hot a whole one. 
\Ve staved ten days at Hesdigneu[, and then moved 
to I)rouvin and Vaudricourt, vhere the billets were 
better, and we were able to bave a Battalion oflïcers" 
mess. During this time, manv reinforcement oflïcers 
arrived and two large drafts of other ranks. Two of 
our original officers returned--Capt. Beasley, who now 
took command of " B " Company, and Lieut. Knighton, 
who returned to " I)" as 2nd in Command. The 
remainder were new to us, and were posted as follows : 
"A " Company--2nd Lieuts. M. A. Hepvorth, C. H. 
Pickvorth, and G. Russell; "B" Çompany--2nd Lieuts. 
J. \V. Brittain and, when thev ret.urned, the two officers 
lent to other Battalions; "C " Company--Capt. S. J. 
F, owler, 2nd Lieuts. A. M. Barrowcliffe and A. 
L. Macbeth; " D " Company--2nd Lieuts. A. H. 
Dawes, H. \V. Oliver, and J. R. Brooke. 2nd Lieut. 
C. L. Saunders becane lIachine Gun Officer. \Vith 
these additions we were able to start training again, 
and devoted out time to route marching, bavonet 
fighting, and, most of ail, bomb throing. At no time 
during the war was more reliance placed on bombs, 
and scheme after scheme was invented for " bombing 


attacks up a trench," to such an extent that the platoon 
organisation was now re-modelled with the one idea 
of forming bomb parties. The rifle seemed to be 
temporarily forgotten. 
On the Sth October, as many Units as possible of the 
1st Armv were inspected bv H.M. The King. Out 
Brigade formed a composite Battalion commanded by 
Col. Jones, and, with the test of the Division, and repre- 
sentatives of other I)ivisions, was drawn up along the 
Hesdigneul-Labuissière Road. His Majesty rode past 
us from Labuissière and, after taking the salute, came 
down the hill again in his car with tbe l'rince of \Vales. 
He acknowledged out cheers with a smile, and it was 
hot until afterwards that we learnt of his accident 
soon after passing us, and knew the pain he was 
sulïering during his drive back, pain which he had so 
admirablv concealed. 
After the inspection we sent a large party, six officers 
and .30 N.C.O. 's and men, to Sailly Labourse, to carry 
gas cylinders and other material to trenches, but except 
for this we were spared all fatigues durlng out period 
of test. A week later we marched through Béthune 
and Robecq to Calonne sur la Lys, a little village outside 
Merville, where we remained another week belote g-oing 
to the line. Lieut. Allen rejoined us and became 
Adiutant; Lieut. Hills, after a few days with "A " 
Company, went to Brigade Headquarters as a Staff 
Learner. At the saine time, Major Toller returned to 
the Battalion as nd in Command. After commanding 
the -[th Battalion until a new Colonel arrived for them, 
he had been posted to the 5th Lincolnshires, and for a 
time it looked as though he would be permanently 
given command. However, bad luck pursued him, 


and, as two new Colonels arrived for that Battalion 
the same day, he again lost his Conmand. Consider- 
ing that he had commanded us for three m'onths during 
the summer with great success, and was easilv senior 
Major in the Brigade, it was exceptionally" bad luck that 
he had to xxait another eight months belote finallv 
getting Iris Battalion. 
On the 10th November, we were told that we should 
once more take over a part of the line, and the following 
rnorning we marched to I.acotlture and went into billets 
for one night. "B " Co. (Beasle.v) went on at once 
and spent the night in support positions near the Rue 
du Bois between Festubert and Neuve Chapelle. The 
rest of us moved up the next dav and took over our 
new line from the Sherwood Foresters the saine night. 
Battalion Headquarters lived in a little cottage, " No. 
1 " Albert Road, two Cornpanies occupied a large farm 
bouse in the saine neighbourhood fitted up as a test 
bouse, one Company lived in a series of curiouslv named 
keeps--" Haystack," " Z Orchard," '" l'ath," and 
" Dead Cow," and one Company- onlv was in the front 
The Brigade now held the line from " Kinkroo," a 
corruption of La Quinque Rue, crossing to the " Boar's 
Head," and 'o.f this we held the stretch opposite the two 
farms in No Man's Land, Fine du Bois and Fine Cour 
d' Avoue. The latter, surrounded bv a moat, had an 
evil reputation, and was said to have been the death-trap 
of manv patrols, xvhich had gone there and never been 
seen since. The trenches had been dug in the 
summer when the country was dry', xxith no regard to 
the fact that in winter the water level rises to within 
two inches 'of the surface of the ground. In conse- 


quence, the trenches were full of mud and water, and 
most of the bivouacs and shelters were afloat. The 
mud was the worst, for although onlv two feet deep, 
vet it was of the clinging variety, and ruade walking 
impossible, so much so, that manv a man has found it 
impossible to withdraw lais foot, bas had to leave 
gum-boot behind, go on in his socks, and corne back 
later with a shovel to rescue lais boot. The water was 
deeper and often came over one's gum-boots and up 
to one's waist, but at least it was possible to walk 
slowlv through it without fear of getting stuck. To 
add to the discomfort of the garrison, the weather was 
bitterh cold and often verv vet, and though no 
Company remained more than 24 ho,urs in the front line, 
vet that was long enough for manv to become chilled 
and so start the terrible " trench foot." 
" Trench foot," as it was called, was one of the 
most terrible atlictions of winter trenches. After 
standing for a long period in vater or mud, or with 
wet nlbber boots, the feet became graduall.v numbed 
and the circulation ceased, while as the numbed area 
increased a dull aching pain spread over the whole foot. 
Exercise to restore the circulation would have prevented 
this, but for men who were compelled to spend the 
entire dav in one tire bay, exercise vas impossible, and 
bv evening the numbness had almost ahvavs started. 
As soon, therefore, as a Company came from the front 
line, it marched to the rest h,ouse. Here, everv man 
was given a hot drink, lais et boots and socks were 
taken away, his feet rubbed bv the Stretcher Bearers 
until the circulation was restored, and then with dry 
socks and dru. boots he remained for the next 
hours in the warmer atmosphere of the test house. 


Should action hot be taken in time, and a man be left 
for 48 hours with wet boots and socks, the test housse 
treatment was insufScient, and ho had tobe sent to 
Hospital, where, if gangrene had hot set in, he could 
still be cured. )Ianv ila the earlv davs did hot realize 
its dangers, for once gangrene starts, the foot has to 
be amputated. 
The enemv's trenches were probably as bad as out 
oxx n, and ho only malned his front line at night, leaving 
a few snipcrs to hold it by dav. These were active 
for the first hour or two after morning " stand to," 
but thon had breakfast and apparently slept for the rest 
of the day, at all events they troubled us no more. 
This was a distinct advantage, for it enabled communi- 
cation to be kept between posts and from front to rear, 
without the orderly having either to swim up a com- 
munication trench or run a serious risk of being sniped. 
One, Kelly, a famous "D " Company character, tried 
to walk too soon one morning to fetch lais rum ration 
and was hit in the knee, much to his annoyance; but on 
the xxhole there were verv few casualties. Bv night, 
too, tl:ere was not much firing, probabl.v because both 
sides were hard at work taking up rations, relieving 
front line posts, or tf.ring to get drv with the aid of a 
walk " on top." In our case, with 2t hour reliefs, 
there were no ration parties, because each Company 
as it went to the line took its rations and fuel with it. 
Our onlx communication trench was " Cadbury's," 
xvhich started near " Chocolat Mortier," corner of the 
Rue du Bois, so called after an advertisement for this 
chocolate fastened to the side of a house. It was 
even more water logged than the front line, and conse- 
quentl.v, except when the ice was thick enough to walk 


on, was seldom used. \Vitb a little care it was possible 
to reach the front line even bv dav witbout tbe help of 
a trencb at ail, and Lieut. Saunders ahvays used to 
visit lais machine guns in this way, making the journe. 
both wavs over the top every dav that we held tbe 
sector, and never once being shot at. 
The Rue du Bois we used as little as possible, for 
everv other bouse was an O.P., and the gunners pre- 
ferred us at a distance. Tbe " Ritz," " Carlton," 
" Tr.ocadero," and " l'rinces " ail gave one an excellent 
view of the enemv's front line, and, knowing this, the 
Boche concentrated most of the little artillerv he used 
on this neighbourhood. There was seldom any heavy 
sbelling, mostlv field artillerv only, and this of a poo:r 
order, for hot onh" were there manv " duds " in everv 
shoot, but also the gunners seemed to lack imagination. 
So regular were tbev in their choice of targets, rimes 
o,f shooting, and number of rounds fired, tbat, after 
being in the line one or two days, Col. Jones had 
discovered their s.vstem, and knew to a minute where 
the next shell would fall. His calculations were very 
accurate, and be was able to take wbat seemed to 
uninitiated Staff Officers big risks, knowing that the 
sbelling would stop before he reached tbe place being 
Amongst the new subaltern officers was one unlike an)" 
we had seen before--2nd Lieut. J. R. Brooke. He loved 
patrolling for its own sake, and during his first few 
davs in the line explored everything he could filld 
including tbe German wire and trenches. From tbis 
rime onwards he spent more of his davs crawling about 
on lais stoumach than sitting like a respectable soldier 
in a trench, and even when vears later be became a 


Company Commander it was round impossible to break 
him of the habit. Captains were forbidden to go on 
patrol, but this did not matter to him, be xonld take 
a snbaltern with him and make the latter write the 
report, calling it 2nd Lieut. ---- and one other Rank. 
One would expect such a man to be large, strong, and 
of a tierce countenance; 2nd Lieut. Brooke xvas small, 
of delicate health, and looked as thongh his proper 
vacation il'l life was to hand cups of tea to fair ladies 
at a village tea tight. 
It seemed probable that we shonld have to romain in 
this sector for the whole winter, and out first thought 
was, therefore, how to make the trenches somewhat 
more habitable. It was obvi.ous that digging was out 
of the question, and that nothing less than a large 
breastwork, built entirely above ground, would be of 
anv use. General Kemp visited the lines several times 
before finallv deciding on his plan, and then sighted two 
works, the front a few yards behind out present front 
line, the second j.ust behind vhat was called the " old 
British Line," now used for our snpports. It was a 
gigantic task, and the work was verv slow, even though 
everv available man worked ail night. The inside of 
the breastwork was to be revetted with frames of 
woodwork and expanded metal, and, in order that the 
parapet might be reallv bullet proof, the soil for it had 
to be dug from a " borrow pit " several vards in front. 
The soil was stickv and would not leave the shovel, 
which added terriblv to the work; for each man had 
literallv to dig a shovel full, walk rive or six yards 
and deposit it against the revetting frames. For- 
tunatelv for us the Boche did not seem to object to out 
xvork, in any case he left us in peace each night. 


\Vhile this was in progress, an effort was also ruade 
to trv and drain the area. In many places water was 
lying, held up bv sandbag walls and old trenches, 
actuallv above the ground level, and it was hoped that 
bv cleaning ditches and arranging a general drainage 
scheme for the whole area, this surplus water might 
be drained off, and, in time, the whole water level 
lowered. Lieut. A. G. Moore, M.C., who returned 
from England at this rime, was ruade " O.C. 
1)rainage," and set to work at once with what men 
he could collect, but so big were the parties working 
on the breastworks each night, that onlv a very few 
could be spared for this other work, and hot very 
much could be done. 
Soon after Lieut. Moore, 2nd. Lieut. G. B. \Villiams 
also returned to us, and became Battalion Intelligence 
Officer, a post now started for the first rime. At the 
saine rime four new officers arrived--2nd Lieuts. G. 
Selwvn and YV. Ashwell to "A " Compan.v, .°nd Lieut. 
A. N. Bloor to " B," and 2nd Lieut. V. J. Jones to 
" D." C.S.M. Gilding and Serjt. Brodribb both left 
us tobe trained as officers, and their places were taken 
by C.Q.M.S. Johnson who became C.S.M. of "C" 
Company, and Oorpl. Roberts who took charge of the 
Transport. The latter xvas still under the special care 
of Capt. Burnett, although he had all the Transport 
of the Brigade to look after. 
Out first tour ended on the 25th, when, after 1 
davs' mud and frost, we were relieved by the 4:th 
Lincollshires, and came back to billets in the Rue des 
Çhavattes, hot far from Laeouture, where Stores and 
Transport remained throughout this time. Out 
casualties had not been verv heavy, and we lost more 


through the weather conditions than at the hands of 
the enemy, for Cpt. Fowlcr and several N.C.O.'s and 
men, unable to stand the exposure, had to be sent to 
Hospital. Out biileting area included several keeps 
or strong points--L'Epinette, le "l'ourel, and others-- 
for which we round caretakers, little thinking, as we 
stocked them with reserve rations, that the Boche would 
eventuallv eat out " Bully," and it would fall to out 
lot in three vears time to drive him from these very 
positions. "l'he day after relief, the Brigadier went 
on leave, and Col. Jones took lais place at Brig'ade 
Headquarters--" Cense du Raux " Farm--somewhat to 
the annovance of one or two of the other Commanding 
Ottcers, who, though junior to the Colonel, were all 
" Regular Time-serving Soldiers." 
Up to this rime out covering Artillerv had belonged 
to anothm- (New Army) Division, but now out own 
Gunners took over the line, making it more than ever 
certain that we were to spend the whole winter in these 
abominable trenches. \Ve were very glad to see out 
own Artillerv again, for, though their predecessors had 
done quite well, we ahvays preferred out own, even in 
the davs of 15 pounders and 5 inch howitzers. Not 
onlv were thev more accurate than other people, but 
they were also more helpful, and were obviouslv intent 
on serving us Infantry, not, as some others, o,n carrying 
on a small war of their own. Besides, we knew the 
F.O.O.'s so well and looked forward to seeing them 
in the Mess, where, betxxeen occasional squabbles about 
real or imaginary" shol-t shooting, thev were the most 
cheerful companions. Lieuts. \Vright, Morris-E.vtc«, 
\Vatson of the 1st Staffs., Morgan, Anson of the -th, 
and Lyttelton, Morris, and Dixie of the nd Lincoln- 


sbires, were the most frequent visitors for tbe " pip 
Lquealçs, while Lieuts. Newton, Cattle, and F. Joyce 
perforrned the saine duties for the Derby Howitzers. 
They ahvavs took tare to maintain their superiority over 
tbe mere foot soldier bv a judicious use of long technical 
words wbicb thev produced one at a rime. At lçemmel 
thev were ahvavs " registering "; at Ypres, as we, 
too, bad learnt the meaning of " register " and even 
dared to use the word ourselves, they introduced 
" bracketinK,'" and as this became too common, 
" calibrating " md so on; the more famous of recent 
vears hein K " datum point " and M.I'.I. (mean point 
of impact). Occasio.nallv out otScers used to visit the 
Batteries, in order to learn bow a Kun was fired--an 
opportunity for anv F.O.O. to wreak vengeance on 
sorne innocent Infantry Subaltern, who had dared to 
suKgest that he had been sbooting short. The In- 
fantrvman would be led down to the gun pit, and told 
to stand witb one leg on eacb side of the trail, " so 
that he could watch tbe shell leave the gun "; sorne 
Gunner would then pull a string and the poor spectator, 
besides bein nearlv deaf, would see some hideous 
recoilin K portion shoot at his stomach, stop 
within an eighth o.f an inch of his belt buckle, and slide 
slowlv back--a ghastly ordeal. 
On the night of the 2nd December, we went once 
more to the line and reiieved the tth Lincolnshires in 
our old sector, which we found very much as we had 
left it, perhaps a little wetter, as it had been raining. 
For this tour we slightly altered out dispositio»s, and 
instead of each of the four Companies takin K a tour in 
the front line, two Cornpanies onlv would do s.o. for this 
tour, the other two doin K the saine tbe following tour. 


It was hoped tbat in this wav the garrison would take 
more interest in irnproving tbeir surroundings if they 
knew thev would return to the sarne place everv other 
dav. Under tbe old systern, no one took mucb interest 
in a trench which he onlv occupied for 2t hours, and 
would not see again for four davs. \Ve did hot, 
however, bave a chance of testing this new arrange- 
ment, for at 3-45 the following" morning, orders carne 
that the Division would be relieved the followin. night, 
and was under orders 1:o go to the East. As soon as 
it was dark, tbe 19th Division took our place in the 
line, and we marched back for the night to tbe Rue des 
Çhavattes, whence, after ridding ourselves of gurn- 
boots, sbeepskin coats, and extra blankets, we rnarcbed 
the following day by Locon, Lestrern and Merville to 
Caudescure, a little village on the edge of Nieppe 
\Ve round fairlv good billets here, thougb thev vere 
too scattered to allow of a Battalion Mess, and we spent 
a verv enjoyable f, ortnight traininK, playing football, and 
listening" to rurnours about out destination. The rnost 
persistent of tbe last was Egy'pt, based in the first 
instance on a telephone conversation between a Crps 
and I)ivisional Signaller, overhead bv a telephonist at 
Brigade, in which the Corps Signaller told his friend 
that be had seen a paper in one of the otfices wbich said 
tbat we were to go to Eg.vpt. On the other hand, 
Lieut. X of the Lincolnshires had a brother in the Flying 
Corps, who bad ridden on a lorrv with an A.S.C. 
Serjeant fro.rn G.H.Q., and had been told that ail the 
Territorial Divisions in India were being relieved bv 
Divisions frorn France. Against this was Captain 
barman, who had a friend in the Staffordshires who was 


batman to an oflïcer who had a cousin in the V'ar Office, 
and he said we were going to the I)ardenelles. On 
the top of all these came General Montagu-Stuart- 
XVortlev to inspect us, and, incidentally', to tell us that 
he himself had hot the slightest idea where we were 
On the 19th we moved to the little hamlet of Tanna.v, 
still on the edge of the woods, between Haverskerque 
and Thiennes. As we paraded in the morning there 
were manv who said thev could smell gas, but as the 
whld was N.E. and the line verv far awa.v, we thought 
thev must be mistaken. However, the next dav the 
official communiqué told us of a big gas attack at Ypres 
on the 9th and 49th Divisions, and though Ypres was 
18 mlles away, it must bave been this that could be 
smelt. In these new billets we spent Christmas--the 
first Cristmas in France for us, and managed with the 
aid of plum puddings and other luxuries sent out to us by 
the good people at home, to enjoy ourselves immensely. 
Not onlv were many good things to eat sent us, but ve 
also received some very welcome gifts of tobacco, 
cigarettes, books and stationerv from the " Leicester 
Dailv Post and Mercurv " funds. Both these papers 
have been most faithful throughout the war, never 
failing to send us " themselves," and often adding Boxes 
of comforts for ail. Out celebrations included a Brigade 
Football Çup competition, for which we entered a hot 
side, including manv of our old players--"" Neal, 
" Musb " Ta.vlor, Toon, Archer, Skell_v, Fish, Serjt. 
Allan, Kirchin and others. We met the 5th Lincoln- 
shires in the semi-finals and beat them 2--1, and then 
turned our attention to their 4th Battalion, who after 
beating out 4th Battalion, .our old rivais, met us in the 


final and went down 1--0. The final was a keen, hard 
gaine, played well to the finish, and we deserved our 
win. The trophy--a clock, mounted into a French 
" 75 " shell--was taken back to Leicestershire bv Capt. 
Fariner when he next went on leave. 
On the 97th we again moved, this time to some fatras 
round Vqddebroucq, just west of Aire, tobe nearer 
our entraining station Berguette, which with Lillers 
had alreadv been reconnoitrcd. As Captains Hills 
and Vard .]ackson had alreadv gone forward with 
an advance party to larseilles, it began to look as 
though we reallv should go East before the end of the 
var--a fact wbicb some of us were beginning to doubt. 
Training still continued each da}, special attention being 
pald to open warfare tactics, which fortunatelv included 
more muslçetl'V and les.,; bombing, and we also carried 
out a number of route marches and field davs. Scouts, 
having become obsolete, were resurrected, and Field 
Service Regulations rescued from the dira recesses of 
valises. It was a pleasant change after the previous 
nine months' trench work. 
At last, on the 6th January, we marched to Berguette 
station and boarded a long train of cattle trucks, leaving 
at 4.40 p.m. The first part of the journey was 
uninteresting, but after passing Paris, the train seemed 
happier, vent quite fast at rimes, and did hot stop so 
long between stations. The weather on the 8th xvas 
lovely, and the tbird dav's travelling under a hot sun 
was delicious: doors vere pushed back, and those for 
whom there was to room on the foot-boards, sat on the 
carriage roofs. Finally, at 1.0 a.m. on the 9th, the 
train reached 5larseilles, and we marched out to a camp 
on the west side of the town, in a suburb called Santi, 


where there xxere tents for ail, and a large room for an 
officers" mess. Here we remalned 14 davs in the most 
excellent surroundings, and with heavenlv weather. 
The Staffordshires and L[ncolnshires had alreadv 
sailed for Egypt when we arrived, and a few days later 
another ship carried some t'adres and other officers of 
the Division to the saine destination. For the test 
us there were for the moment no transports, so we had 
to wait--not a verv terrible task, when out most 
strcnuous exercise was sea-bathing or pla.ving xvater 
polo, and out recreation consisted of walking into the 
town, to which an almost unlimited number of passes 
were given. Here, it must be admitted, there was often 
too much to eat and far too much to drink, and the 
attractions were so great that ever.vbody waited for the 
last possible train back to camp, with the result that this 
vehicle arrived with human forms clinging to every 
corner of the sides, ends and roof--a most extrao,rdinarv 
sight. On one occasion two well-known soldiers who 
had dined too well and hot too wisely, stood solemnlv at 
the side of the road holding up their hands to a tram 
to stop, when a party of livclv French scavengers turned 
the hosepipe on to them, and thev had to be rescued 
from the gutter, where thev lav with thc water running 
in at their collars and out at their ankles. The officers, 
too, had manv popular resorts, such as Therese's Bar 
and the Bodega for cocktails, the Noveltv for dinner, 
and a host of entertainments to follow, ranging from the 
opera, which was first-class, for the serious, through the 
" Alcazar " and " Palais de Crvstal " for the frivolous, 
to the picture palaces for the utterlv depraved. 
On the 20th we learnt that o,ur Transport was now 
ready for us, and the folloving morning ve marched to 


the docks and embarked in H.M.T. " Andania," late 
Cunard, which tan o«aly be described as a floating palace, 
fitted with everv modern luxury. \Ve were all rather 
glad tobe leaving Marseilles, for it was an expensive 
place, and manv of the ofticers were beginning to be a 
little apprehensive about the lengths to which Mr. Cox 
would let them go. However, ail would nov be right, 
because once in thc desert we should draw extra pay and 
find no Bodegas. \Ve were to sail on the morning of 
the 2nd, and soon after dawn orders arrived--to 
disembark ! Sadlv we left out palace and walked back 
to Santi Çamp--now hateful to look upon, as ve 
realised that within a few davs we should be back once 
more in the mud, tain, cold and snow of Flanders. The 
reaso,n for the sudden change, for taking hall the l)ivi- 
sion to Egypt for a fortnight only, was never told us, 
but probably ît was owing to the successful evacuation 
of the Dardanelles. Had this been a failure, had we 
been compelled to surrender large numbers to save the 
test, the Turks wx)uld have been free to attack Egypt, 
which had at that time a small garrison only. As it 
was the Division from Gallipoli vent to Egypt, and we 
were hot wanted. 
On the 2îth Pte. Gregory, who died as the result of 
a train accident, vas given a full milita W funeral, and 
the following dav at 4.30 a.m. we left Marseilles for 
the North. 



6th Feb., 1916. 9th May, 1916. 
OUR return train iourncy was uneventfu] until we 
rcached Paris, whcre a German air raid started iust 
as we arrived, and thc train was compc]]cd to stop. 
Vc had a bcautifu] vicw, and, as the French depended 
more on their own planes than on anti-aircraft guns, 
if was well worth watching. Thc French machines al] 
carried sma]] searchlights, and, in addition to these, 
thc skv was ]ight up with thc larger scarchlights from 
bc]ow, whi]c the efforts of the Bochc to avoid the ]ights, 
and thc Frcnch to catch thcir opponents, produced 
s,0me wondcr[ul air-manoeuvering, which ended in the 
rctircment of thc Boche. As soon as thev had gone, 
our train went on, and we reachcd Pont Remv station 
outsidc Abbcville ai 8-30 a.m. on the 30th--back once 
more in rain, snow, and mud. 
Vv'e marchcd at once to Yaucourt Bussus, a sma]] 
village with comfortable billets, which we occupied for 
nearlv a fortnight, spending our time training and 
playing football. Meanwhile, as the Brigadier and the 
two Lincolnshire Battalions had not yet returned from 
Egypt, Col. Jones, taking with him 2nd Lieut. \Villiams 
as Staff Officer, went to command the half Brigade 
and lived with Captain Burnett at Aillv le haut Clocher, 


another small village, to which the Brigadier came on 
his return on the llth. 'Vhile the Cclonel vas aay, 
Major Toller took command and Major T. C. P. 
Beasley acted as 2nd in Command. For the time no 
one seemed to bave the slightest idea vhat was going 
to happen to the Division next. 
On the 10th we marched to Gorenflos, and the follow- 
ing da)' were taken by lorries to billets in Candas, 
where, with an East wind, we could occasionally hear 
the distant sounds of gunfire for the first time fcr two 
months. Our new area we found was full of prepara- 
tion for something; what the exact nature of this 
something rnight be we did hot know. Several large 
railways and dumps were being built, new roads ruade, 
and here and there with great secrecy big concrete gun 
platfo.rms were laid. Each dav we sent large numbers 
to work, mostly on the railvays, and once more we 
heard the words " Big l'ush." \Ve were always 
fiving on the verge of the Bi Push, and man)' times 
in 915 had thcught that it had started--at Neuve 
Chapelle, Givenchy, Loos--only to give up hope when 
these battles stagnated after a dav or two. Now there 
were preparations going forward again, this time 
apparently on a much larger scale than we had ever 
seen befo,re, so we felt justified once more in hoping 
for the great event. Curi.ouslv enou;h the possibilities 
of a Boche big push were never considered, and everv- 
<)ne of us was firmlv convinced that, except perhaps for 
a blow at Ypres, offensive action on the part of the 
enernv was o,ut of the question. This spirit animated 
all our work, which was consequently verv different 
from out opponents.' Our trenches alwavs had a 
we-shall-not-stay-here-long air about them, his were 


built to resist to the last man. It was the same in 
• considered 
training and in billets, we unconsclously 
ourselves an advancing arrny, and thereby, tho.ugh we 
mav not have realized it, we ourselves supplied the 
finest possible stimulant to out rnoral. 
The lllrd. Arrnv (Gen. Allenby), to which we now 
belonged, introduced at this tirne the Arrnv School--an 
important innovation, shortly taken up by ail the other 
Arrnies. This School, first cornrnanded bv Col. Kentish 
--afterwards Commandant of the Senior Aldershot 
School--airned at training junior officers to be Cornpany 
Cornrnanders, who oxving to casualties were now hard 
to find. The course, which lasted rive weeks, consisted 
of drill, tactical exercises, physical training, rnusketry, 
bayonet fighting, and bornbing, lectures on esprit de 
corps--in fact everything that a Cornpan)" Commander 
should know, but many things that in trench warfare 
had been forgotten. The Instructors were alwavs up- 
to-date, and the best use was at once rnade of any of 
the latest inventions, while the school also kept a verv 
efficient " Liaison " between all parts o.f the Arrnv. 
Students frorn one Division would exchange latest 
schemes, ruses, and devices with others frorn another 
part of the line, and so no valuable lessons xvere lost 
or known to a few onlv. Our first students to this 
school were Capt. \Vard Jackson, who was in charge 
of "A " Cornpany, and Capt. G. XV. Mien, the latter 
for a special Adjutant's refresher course. After these, 
ail the Cornpany Comrnanders went in turn, first to 
Flixecourt, and later to Auxi le Chateau, whither the 
school rnoved in the earlv surnrner. There xvere sirnilar 
courses for senior N.C.O.'s, which were of the utrnost 


Another important innovation at this time was the 
introduction of the Lewis light machine gun. The 
Maxim, and even the Vickers machine un had been 
round for manv reasons unsuitable for infantry work, 
being too heavy and cumbersome for rapid movement, 
too conspicuous for easy concealment. It was therefore 
decided to form BriKade Machine Gun Companies, who 
would be armed with Vickers guns, while Battalions 
would bave Lewis guns only, on a scale of two per 
Company, for they were to be considered a company 
rather than a Battalion weapon. This light gun had no 
tripod, was air-cooled, and fired a pan instead of a belt 
of ammunition. It was as easy to carry as to eonceal, 
and was in every way an enormous improvement on the 
«' Vi.ckers " from the infantry point of view. Training" 
in the new weapon started at once, and as 2nd Lieut. 
Saunders and Serit. Jacques were required for the 
Brigade lIachine Gun Company, 2nd Lieut. Shipston 
was made Lewis Gun Officer, with Corporal Swift to 
help him, and these two trained as manv men as pos- 
sible with the two guns issued to us, s.o that hen more 
arrived the teams would be readv for them. Captain 
EIlwood commanded the Brigade Machine Gunners, and 
in addition to our chier instructors, we also sent 2nd 
Lieut. Stentiford and 30 N.C.O.'s and men to start the 
Company. 2nd Lieut. Stentiford was a new subaltern 
oflïcer who, with 2nd Lieuts. T. P. Creed and C. J. 
Morris, had arrived while the battalion was at Mar- 
On the 16th February orders came that at an early 
date we should take over the line North of the River 
Ancre, oppsite Beaumont Hamel, and the followin K 
dav several lorrv loads of officers rec,onnoitred the 


country round Forceville, Englebelmer and Mailly 
Maillet, where there were some rear defence lines. 
Maps of the front were issued, and we were about to 
arrange trench reconnaissances, when the orders were 
cancelled and we moved instead, on the 20th, to 
Bernaville, and joined the rest of the Brigade. The 
other Battalions and Brigade Headquarters were in the 
ne]ghbouring villages. At this time the people of 
Leicestershire were once more very good to us, and out 
\Var Diary contains a note that " This day the C.O. 
acknowledges with thanks the gifts of 30,000 
cigarettes from out 2/Sth Battalion, also a hand ambu- 
lance from Messrs. Symington and Co., Market 
Harborough." The last survived the rough usages of 
war for a very long time, and many a wounded man has 
been thankful for its springs and rubber tyres. 
The rest of the month was spent in doing a little train- 
ing and a deal of road-clearing. It snowed very hard 
once or twice, and many of the roads beeame impossible 
for traffic, so each Battalion was allotted a road to keep 
clean, ours being the main road to Fienvillers, along 
which we spread ourselves armed with picks and 
shovels, while the village boys threw snowballs at us. 
The 5th I)ivision were moving North at the time, and a 
whole day was spent bv so'me of the Battalions drag- 
ging their transport up a steep h.ill, a task beyond the 
strength of the horses. Fortunately we were spared 
this, probably because we took care hOt to clear the 
road to Brigade Headquarters, and so were left un- 
touched. During this very bad weather we lost 
2nd Lieut. Br.o,oke, who had to go to Hospital with 
On the 29th we moved to Doullens, where we spent 


an enjoyable week, and were introduced to yet another 
innovation. In August, 1915, the French had intro- 
duced a steel helmct for thcir machine gunners, finally 
extending the issue to ail ranks. This had been round 
of the greatest value, and there had been at once a 
marked decrease in the percentage of head wounds. 
The British helmct now appeared, and was generally 
voted, as it first secmed, a hideous fiat object, though 
some humorists admitted that it might bave distinct 
possibilities as a washing basin. A few soldiers of 
the vainer sort thought thev looked more "becoming" 
with a " tin-bat "' over one eye, but the vast majority 
hated thcm, and it was with the greatest difficulty that 
tbose to whom they were issucd, could be persuaded 
hot to throw them awav. This aversion, however, 
soon passed, and wi,thin a few months the infantry- 
man standing under an aeroplane battle without his 
" tin-hat " felt distinctlv naked. 
It was now definitely decided that we were to relieve 
the French in the Neuville St. Vaast-Souchez Sector, 
both places where the French had had terrific fighting 
the previous year, and consequently a sector with a 
bad reputation. The roads were still in bad condition, 
and a char-a-banc, full of officers, who tried to recon- 
noitre reached no further than the French Brigade 
Headquarters and had to return. On the 6th March 
we marched to Magnicourt and two days later to 
Villers-au-bois, about three mlles behind the line, going 
up to trenches on the 9th. 
Earlv in 1915 the French line North of Arras had 
run tbrough la Targette, Carency and over the East 
end of the Lorette heights to Aix Noulette. In May 
out allies ruade their first attack here and, driving the 


Boche from the heights, gained possession, after terrific 
fighting, of Ablain St. Nazaire, Souchez and Neuville 
St. Vaast. Later, in conjunction with out Scptember 
attack at Lco,s, they had again advanced, and finallv a 
brilliant assault by the Zouaves carried tbe line to the 
Vimy ridge and on to these hcights, bevond whicb the 
roads to Lens and Douai lav open. The fighting for 
the summit had been severe, and in the end each side 
retained its grip on the bill top, the opposing trencbes 
running .'0 yards apart along the ridge. Active mining 
operations had started soon afterwards, and shortly 
before our arrival the French had been compelled to 
give up a considerable portion of their line, and so lose 
their hold on the summit. \Vith it thev lost also their 
view Estwards, while the Boche, occupying their 
evacuated trenches, regained lais view of the next ridge 
to the "tVest. 
This second ridge was more in the nature of a large 
plateau, stretching back to Villers-au-bois, and 
separatcd from the Vimy ridge by a narrow steep- 
sided vallev--the " Talus des Zouaves," vhere the 
support Battalion lived in dug-outs. Crossing tbe 
plateau from North to South was the main Bétbune, 
Souchez, Arras road, on whicb stood tbe remains of 
an old inn, the Cabaret Rouge, where some excellent 
deep dug-outs provided acc.ommodation for the 
French Poste de Colonel and an Advanced Dressing 
Station. The plateau was t- mlles wide, and over 
the first hall (up to " Point G ") ran a long and verv 
tiring duck-board track; bevond " Point G " were two 
communication trenches to the line. One, " Boyau 1, 
2, 3," was seldom used, being in bad condition; the 
t3ther, " Boyau d'Ersatz," was boarded and well cared 


for, and used by ail. It ran via the Cabaret Rouge 
int,o the Talus des Zouaves, most of the wav revetted 
with a wonderful " wedding arch " revetment, and 
thence to the front line, passig the left Poste de Com- 
mandant. The forward part of " Boyau 1, , .3," 
East of the " Tahis," was called " Boyau Inter- 
nati'o'nale," leading to " Boyau Vincent " and so to 
the front line past the right Poste de Commandant. 
Carency, Ablain and Souchez were houseless, Villers 
au bois was little better, and out test billets were buts 
at Camblain L'Abbé, about four mlles behind the line. 
The Brigade took over the left sector of the l)ivisional 
front and we were allotted the left sub-sector, out right 
and left boundaries being the two Bovaus " Inter- 
nationale " and " Ersatz." The whole relief was to 
be kept as secret as possible, and ail reconnoitering 
and advance parties were given French helmets to wear 
in the line, so that the Boche might bave n.o idea what 
was going to happen. It was a little disconcerting, 
therefore, when a French listening post, two davs 
belote the relief, reported that a Boche had suddenlv 
looked into their post, and after saying " Les Anglais 
n'sont pas encore donc arrivés," equally suddenlv dis- 
appeared. In spite of this we were not disturbed 
during the relief and by 10-a0 p.m. n the 9th had 
taken the place of the 68th Regiment, who marched out 
at one end of the trench as we appeared at the other, 
having told us that we had come to a verv quiet sector. 
The trenches were in fair condition, though verv dirty, 
and we had a quiet night so began to hope that the 
secto;r might not be too terrible after ail. The next 
day the French left the area, leaving behind them two 
companies of Engineers to carrv on the mining opera- 


tions on the Divisional front. In handing over their 
posts the French had said nthing about their country- 
men whom thev were leaving in tbe mines, and during 
the first night several of them, coming up from below 
and talking a strange language, narrowlv escaped 
being killed for Boche. 
The enemv opposite us were very quiet, and obviously 
knowing of tbe relief, were waiting to sec what ve 
should do. \Vith the French tbere is no doubt that 
thev had had a tacit understanding hot to wage a 
vifforous war, tbough, while seeming inactive, tbey had 
ail the time been undermining the French trenches. 
\Vitb us tbey were uncertain what to do, so for 2t 
hours did nothing except tire a few rifle shots, one of 
which came tbrough-the parapet and ldlled C.S.M.E. 
Thompson, of "B " Company. On the evening of 
the second dav thev went one step further, and threw 
a single grenade, received two in return, and remained 
quiet for the night. The next morning, the llth, 
thev threw six more, ail short, and we replied with 10, 
rive of which fell in their trench and apparently con- 
vinced them that we intended war; at anv rate thev 
made no more tentative efforts, but in the afternoon 
started more or |ess in earnest. At 4.t5 p.m. thev 
blew up a small mne oppcsite " A " Company, 
dcmolished a sap-head, and half bured the solitary 
occupant, who escaped with bruises onlv; after ths 
thev bombed, or tried to bomb us, until 8-0 p.m., while 
we repfied at the rate of two to one. Unfortunately, 
the explosions caused a collapse in our parapet, about 
]0 vards of vhich fell down suddenly, and had to be 
re-built durlng the night. 
The followin.q" night proved to be st[ll more exctlng. 

THE 71MY RIDGE. 115 

Soon after midnight a French sapper, narrowly escap- 
ing several sentries who thought he was a Boche, came 
running along the line excitedlv waving his arms, and 
saying: " Mine, mine, faire sauter, demi-heure." No 
one knew what he meant, though we gathered a mine 
would probabl.v go up somewhere in half-an-hour, 
whether ours or theirs we had nrc the least idea. 
Eventuallv he was led to Battalion Headquarters, where 
he explaincd that lhe French were going to blow a 
camouflët in half-an-hour. It was already nearlv an 
hour since he first said this, and nothing had vet hap- 
pened, so we hurriedly cleared a small portion of out 
front line and waited, while ve sent for the Tunnelling 
Officer. He arrived, and the " blow " was arranged 
for 5-0 a.m., at which hour there was a terrific explo- 
sion, a fortv-foot crater was formed, and another ten 
vards of our parapet fell down. Such an explosion 
must have been cat, sed bv a much bigger charge than 
we had laid, so we probably included in out " blow " a 
Boche laid readv for us. XVe easilv bombed off 
a party of his which tried to rush the crater, and spent 
the dav re-building out fallen parapet. 
Rations, ammunition and R.E. material in this sector 
were brought to the " Talus des Zouaves " on mule- 
drawn trucks along a narrow-gauge Raihvav from 
Mont St. Eloi. Here, at a big Corps R.E. Dump, 
the trucks were loaded everv evening, the mule teams 
hooked in, and the party set off, much harassed at 
times bv bullets and shells, and seldom reaching home 
without losing one, and often tvo animals. The Dump 
in the " Talus " also got shelled; but the steep banks 
ruade the danger liht and not much damage vas done 
in thls way, though the Boche kept up a prolonged 


bombardment at it with 5.9's on the evening of the 
14th. Ècept for this, the test of the tour passed 
quietly, and on the following night the ith Lincolnshires 
relieved us, and we went back to rest in Camblain 
L'Abbé huts, where we stayed for six days. 
Out second tour started on the 21st, and from this 
dav onwards until we finallv left the sector, we had a 
bad rime. Out first trouble was the weather. Alternate 
frosts and thaws, tain and SHOW, soon filled out 
trencbes with mud and slush, into which parapets and 
parados either crumbled graduall.v or collapsed whole- 
sale. No soener could we repair one length, than 
anotber would give wa.v, and through it ail manv posts 
had to lire with vater over their ankles and no pro-per 
drying accommodation. There had to be three com- 
panies in the line, so 2i-hour reliefs vere impossible, 
and to increase out troubles out star in a warm climate 
had ruade us less capable of standing the exposure to 
cold and wet, and there vere manv cases of trench 
fever, trench foot, and some pneumonia, while the 
health of ail was considerablv impaired. One of the 
most pitiful sigh-ts of the war was to sec 20 of our men 
crawling on hands and knees to the Aid Post--their 
feet so bad that thev c,ould hot walk. 
Meanwhile the underground war was not as satls- 
factorv as we should have liked, and the Boche 
undoubtedlv had lhe upper hand in the mining. Out 
galleries were few and short, and in consequence use- 
less for either offence or defence, while his were known 
to be near out trenches in several places. In one 
place between the right and centre companies the 
Lincolnshires had expected a " blow " at anv mo-ment, 
and evacuating their front line, had dug a new trench 


ten vards in rear of it. This seemed to have been 
sighted in such a haphazard sort of way that it was 
at once named the " Harry Tate " trench bv some 
humorist, who pictured a Company Commander com- 
ing o,ut and saying " \Vhat shall we d-o next? Let's 
dig a trench." And so they dug this one--quite use- 
less, for it was bound to be engulfed by anv mine which 
exploded under the front line. The Boche, hovever, 
tho.ught more of the new trench than we did, and the 
dav after it vas built, bombarded it with heavv minen- 
werfer shells until it was unrecognisable. 
In this state we round it when we came in f.or out 
second tour, " C " Company (Farmer) on the right and 
"A " Company (,Vard Jackson) in the centre. Our 
first m.orning the Boche started iust before midday, and 
for four hours rained heavy minenwerfer shells on 
these tvo Companies, and particularly on the new 
trench. Fortunately there vas no one in this, and 
equally fortunately most of the shells fell between our 
front line and supports; there was a thick mist at the 
time, and it was almost impossible to judge their flight. 
Through it all Capt. Farmer walked calmlv from post 
to post, cheering the garrison, and iust before the end 
of the bombardment at 4-0 p.m., made his way down 
the small communication trench towards his support 
platoon. Thence he u'ent to call on "B " Company, 
but was caught on the wav back by a mortar, which he 
probabl.v could not sec coming in the mist (for no one 
vas more accurate at judging their flight than he), and 
was killed instantly, being blown out o,f the trench and 
lost for several hours. Captain Farmer vas perhaps 
the quietest, certainlv the bravest, officer of his time, 
for he feared nothing, and nothing could shake his 


calm, while it was said of him that he as never angry 
and noyer dcspondcnt. XVhen he was killed, "C " 
Company lost their leader, and every man his best 
friend, while the mess lost o,ne who was the most 
cheerful comrade of every officer. 
This bombardmcnt left our front line in a terrible 
condition, and General Kemp decided to build a new 
main line of resistance 50 vards in rear, holding the 
front with odd posts onlv. lleanwhile the front 
parapet must be repaired, and the night was spent in 
doing this s far as we could--a hopeless task, for the 
following afternoon we were again hammered. This 
time " A " Company suffered most, and Corporal 
Villiamson and one man were killed, Serjt. Staniforth 
and one other wounded, while the trench was blown in 
for several yards and a dug-out demolished. Dug- 
ours were few, and consisted onlv of little hutches 
fo, rmed by putting a sheet of iron over some slot. Even 
Company Headquarters of the centre Company had 
little more than this, though Battalion Headquarters 
and the other companies had a half-deep dug-out. 
The bombardments now became daily, and all our 
efforts at retaliation either with artillery or trench 
mortars proved entirelv ineffectual. There was nothing 
we could do except clear as many men as possible 
away from the danger area, and come back at dusk to 
rebuild our parapet. Towards the end of the tour 
the Boche started firing rifle grenades belote each 
mortar, so that we should stoop to avoid the former 
and so miss seeing the flight of the latter. The tour 
ended with a four-inch fall of snov on the -'23th, which 
melted almost at once and filled the tronches with water, 
which no amount of pumping would remedy. After 


relief we went to the " Talus des Zouaves " in Brigade 
support, except for "C " Company (Moore), which 
went to the Cabaret Rouge--now used as Brigade 
advanced Headquarters. 
The East side of the valley, where the Support Bat- 
talion's dug-outs had been built, was immune fro.m 
German sheIIs owing to the steepness of the bill side, 
and hcre for six davs we had comparative rest, except 
at nights, when we most of us went digging on the 
new line. The Battalion Grenadiers under Serjeant 
Goodman particularly enjoyed thcmsclves, and lheir 
dug-out in the valley became a regular anarchists' 
arsenal. Fiendish missiles were made out of empty 
bottles stuffed with ammonal and other explosives, 
which thev managed to obtain in large quantities from 
the Krench miners, vhile the strength of various poisons 
and gases was tested against the rats, against whose 
habitations they carried on an endless ar. A catapult 
was erected for practice purposes, and out bombers 
became adepts in its use, knowing exactly how much 
fuse to attach to a T. N. T. -filled glass beer bottle to 
make it burst two seconds after landing in the Boche 
trench. The valley was a little dan.gerous during prac- 
tice hours, but nobodv minded this so long as the enemy 
suffered in the end. 
At the saine rime another lnntovation was introduced 
in the shape of the Stokes light trench mortara 
stove-pipe-like gun firing a cvlindrlcal shell some 400 
vards at the rate of 8 in the air at once. It was simply 
necessary to drop the shell into the gun, at the bottom 
of which was a striker, and the rest was automatic and 
almost noiseless, the shock of discharge being rather 
like a polite cough. Brigade Trench Mortar Companies 


vere formed, in our case 2nd Lieuts. A. N. Bloor and 
XV. R. Ashwell, with several 'other ranks, went to join 
the first company. 
On the 2nd Match, having received a draft of three 
N.C.O.'s and 106 men, we went once more to the line 
and took over from the 4th Lincolnshires. This rime 
we were able to bave two Companies in front, one in 
Boisselet trench, part of the new work, and one in 
reserve, a far more satisfactory distribution. Thê 
trenches were still in a verv bad state, and it was round 
in manv places quite impossible to dig nexv lines, 
because the Kround had been so shaken bv continuous 
bombardment for more than a year, that the soli would 
no longer bind, and the sidcs of anv new trench 
collapsed almost as soon as thev were dug. Thê 
tour was fairlv quiet, thouKh Boche snipers and 
artillerv were more active than before, and we reached 
Camblain L'Abbé at the end of i.t wi.thout having 
suffered anv repetition of the trench mortar bombard- 
Our six davs' rest included two big 'orking parties, 
two inspections, and one demonstration, to sav nothing 
of such minor details as church parades, conferences, 
baths, and the usual overhauling of boo.ts and clothing. 
The 'ork consisted of clearing dug-o.uts in the Bois 
des Alleux, and onlv lasted two days, after which we 
polished ourselves for General Kemp, who inspected us 
in a field near Camblain, and said that he was much 
pleased indeed with our turnout. General Montagu- 
Stuart-¥ortlev was equally omplimentary at the 
second inspection, and congratulated ail ranks on their 
appearance and smartness, which, considering the state 
of the trenches, was very creditable. The demonstra- 


tion was particularly interesting, and proved the futilitv 
of the German flame proiector. As manv men 
as possible were placed in a trench, while the demon- 
strator, standing at 30 feet away with the machine, 
turned on the flame. The wind was behind him, and 
the flame, with a tremendous roar, leapt out about 30 
yards. But the noise was the worst part, for the 
burning liquid, vapourising as it left the machine, 
became lighter than air, and in spire of all the efforts 
of the I)cmonstrator, could hot be ruade to sink into 
the trench, whose occupants wcre untouchcd, q'he 
men were all rather amused at the whole performance 
and suggested that we should bring the machine into 
the line to warm them up on cold days. 
On the 12th we marched once more to the line and 
relieved the 4th Lincolnshires, this time for a four-dav 
tour. \Ve round on arrival that the Boche a few hours 
previously had blown a large mine in the left sector, 
to be occupied bv " I) " Company" (Shields), so that in 
addition to the work on the new trench, we had to 
supply manv men for repairing this new damaKe--no 
llght task, for manv vards of our front trench had dis- 
appeared. To make work more difficult the Boche 
was continualh- throwing bombs and rifle grenades to 
trv and catch o.ur workinff parties, and it was only 
after two davs' vigorous retaliation that xxe taught him 
that it was wiser to keep quiet. The leading spirit in 
this retaliation was Çaptain Shields himself, who would 
sit in lais dug-out listening for a (-;erman bomb. If he 
heard one he would rush out, coat off and sleeves 
rolled up, and throw back as manv Mills' bombs as he 
could lav hands on, a formidable attack, for he could 
throw a tremendous distance. 2nd Lieut. A. E. 


Brodribb was also a keen bomber who xvould stand at 
a post and send back bomb for bomb until he had the 
Boche beaten. Meanwhile the Battalion anarchists, 
though they had bad luck with the " \Vest " pring 
gun, wbich got buried in the bombardment, were very 
successful in other ways. Serjeant Goodman, with his 
catapult, flinging home-made infernal machines, first 
frc m one post, then from another, must have been very 
annoying to the German sentries, while Cpl. Archer, 
firing salvoes of rifle grenades, eight at a time, always 
bad a quietening effect on any Boche bomber who 
ventured to try his luck in this way. So far as bombs 
were concerned we had the upper hand, but the Boche 
could alwavs start beavy shelling or mortaring, and 
against this we seemed to have no effective retaliation. 
He diÇ! particularly heavy damage with these one 
morning in this tour, a few hours after we had been 
visited bv General Byng, the Corps Commander, who 
went round the front line. On this occasion we had 
two killed and six wounded bv a direct hit on the 
trencb, while the F.O.O., who was o.bserving at the 
time, was also badly wounded. 
Towards the end of tbe tour the situation became 
quieter and we went once more into the Talus t wait 
for relief by the _°Sth Division, whose advance parties 
had already visited the line, and who were expected in 
a few davs. The Boyau d'Ersatz, re-named Ersatz 
Alley for the sake of simplicity, had lately been heavily 
shelled, and it was therefore decided to open up Boyau 
1, 2, :, as an alternative route t.o trenches, calling it 
" "Vortlev Avenue," in honour of the Major General. 
Parties from all companies worked dav and night at 
tbis, soon making it passable, though it would always 


be dangerously exposed to view. Unfortunately "A '" 
Company xvere shelled one day while at xvork, and we 
lost 2nd Lieut. Pickworth, who had to be sent to 
Hospital, and eventually to England, with a bad wound 
in the lungs. 
Meanwhile offensive mining operaticms were being 
undertaken by both sides with increased activity. The 
British Tunnellers, who had relieved the French mining 
companies, found that in several places, unless they 
themselves blew big mines at once, the Boche would 
blow them instead, so blew big craters without delay. 
To this the Boche retaliated, and for the past xveek 
there had been an average of txv mines a night on the 
Divisional front, most of them in the sector on out 
right. But on the night of the 20th our Brigade xvas 
also involved, and the 4th Lincolnshires lost most o.f 
their centre company in an explosion which demolished 
nearlv 100 yards-of their front line. The shock xvas 
terrific, and could be felt so violently even in out valley 
behind, that Captain Barton went to see what had 
happened. Some half-hour later, when the Lincoln- 
shire C.O. went to the scene of the disaster, he round 
the " Doc " there by himself, digging out an injured 
man in the middle of the gap. No British troops had 
yet arrived, and his nearest neighbours were the Boche 
lobbing bombs from the other side of the new crater. 
This latest blow shattered out front line so badly 
that it was quite unfit to hand over to a new Division, 
taking over this part of the line for the first time, and, 
as the Lincolnshires had not enough men to repair it 
themselves, xve had to help them. On the 21st, there- 
fore, when the rest of the Battalion was relieved bv the 
Lancashire Fusiliers and went back for the night to 


Camblain L'Abbé, "D " Company staved behind in 
the Talus till dusk and then went up to work, spending 
the night under R.E. supe'ision, digging in the gap. 
A screen of bombers lay out n tbe crater lip, uhile the 
rest worked, througb mud, water and pouring rain to 
trv and produce some kind of figbting trehch. As fast 
as tbev dug, their new work collapsed, but at last a cut 
was made, and bv morning tbere as at least com- 
munication across the gap, tbougb the trencb was 
terriblv shallow and gave no real protection. Tbe 
following day, "D "' Company on lorries, the rest of 
the Battalion bv march route, we moved tbrough 
Cambligneul and Aubigny to t'enin-I)oPfine, where we 
were t billet for a rest. " B " and " C " Companies 
vere with Brigade Headquarters and tbe Lincolnsbires 
in l'enin. "l'be Headquarters and "D " Company bad 
a large farm, and "A "" Company billets in the hamlet 
of Doffine. 
Here we staved for a week. A Staff ride under the 
Brigadier formed the chier incident in our training, 
while our recreation was enlivened bv an excellent Bat- 
talion Sports Meeting. Great keenness was sbown in 
everv event, and there were consequently well- 
contested races :--"A "" and "C "' Companies divided 
the prizes between them. "A " Çompany won the 
long-distance bomb-throwing, tug-of-war, relav and 
stretcher-bearer races, " Ç " the accurate bomb- 
throwing, --mile, sack and three-legged races. Brigade 
Headquarters came to watch, bringing their hand with 
them, and tbe General ave awav the prizes at the end 
of the dav. The weather was good and we all spent a 
verv pleasant afternoon. 
The 2îth April bmught us orders to return again to 


the line, this time to xx'ork u'ith the Tunnellers, French 
and English, in the neighbourhood of Neuville St. 
Vaast. The folloxving dav the C.O. and most of the 
Company Oflàcers went to Mont St. Eloi Io recon- 
noitre, returning in the evening. \Vhile getting into 
a car in St. Eloi Colonel Jones was slightly wounded 
in the left hand by a six-inch shell, xvhich burst along- 
side the car. Ho xvas sent to Hospital, but returned 
to us ton davs later. On the "29th xx'e moved into 
Neuvillc St. Vaast, living in tuncls and dug-outs, and 
provided large xvorking partics in the mines. Tacticallv 
we were at the disposal of the 25th l)ivision, to whorn 
we lent one or two Lexvis Gun teams. The xvork 
consisted almost entirelv of clearing sa¢Ibags from the 
mine-shafts ad distributing them out treches, 
as far as possible out of sight. It was hard and 
dangerous xx'ork, as was proved bv an accident which 
happened on the îth Ma.v, the night belote we were 
relieved. The enemv blev a counter-mine close to 
one of the saps vhere " D " Company were working, 
bur.ving the French miners, and completely destroying 
the u'hole sap. Txvo of the four men at worl¢ xvcre 
noyer seen agai»; the other two, bruised and shaken, 
rnanaged to crawl half-naked out of the xvreckage. 
On the 9th Ma.v, after spending a night in tents at 
Mont St. Eloi, we went bv motor-'bus through Avesnes- 
le-comte, L;encourt, Grand Rullecourt, to Lucheux, 
where we went into billets. \Ve left at Vimv a party 
of -°5 mon under Lieut. A. ]I. Barroxccliffe, working 
xvith the R.E. (TunneIlers). 5Iost of them graduaIIy 
became sappers, and we saw verv few of them ever 
again. During these txvo last months there had been 
onlv one important change in the persolnel. 


Stims.on, who had been at the Stores since the begin- 
ning of the war, and whose knowledge of French had 
been as invah, able to Captain "Vorley as his energy and 
skill with " mobilisation store stables," returned to 
England. C.S. Ii/. Gorse became R.Q.M.S., and in 
lais place J. HïII became C.S.M. of "A " Company. 



10th May, 1916. 5rd July, 1916. 
The next tcn days, spent in Lucheux, were as pleasant 
as any in the war. After the mud, cold and damp 
of Vimy, we could well appreciate the spring weather, 
the good billets and the excellent c.ountry in which we 
now round ourselves. Lucheux, a very old French 
village with its castle and gateway, stands on the edge 
of a still older forest a few mlles North of Doullens, 
and tbe majority of the inhabitants, under the guidance 
of a very energetic Mayor, did all they could to make us 
comfortable. Work was not too hard, and out chier 
labour was making wattle revctments in the forest--a 
good task for a hot day--and practising musketry on a 
home-ruade rifle range outside the village. The 
mounted otticers were partcularly fo,rtunate, for the 
forest was full of tracks and rides, and each morning 
soon after dawn the more energetic could be seen 
cantering under the dripping trees in the early morn- 
ing May mists--bare headed and in shirt sleeves. 
Meanwhile the arrival of some new oftïcers filled the 
gaps in the Mess caused by Vimy. First Colonel 
Jones returned, with the piece of shrapnel still in his 
hand, but otherwise very fit. Soon afterwards two 
new oflïcers, 2nd Lieutenan.ts H. A. Lowe and G. E. 
Banwell, joined us, and at the saine time Capt. R. C. 


L. Mould and Lieut. D. B. l'etch returned from 
England. Several large drafts of N.C.O.'s and men 
arrived, manv of thcm old hands, vho had been 
wounded, some of them more than once, although as 
we know xvell there were many soldiers in England who 
had never ver seen a day's fighting. 
Just at this rime another important change was ruade 
in out training. For manv months now we had been 
taught the bomb to the exclusion of almost everv other 
w.eapon, now at last the bayonet was returning to its 
former posi.tion of importance. The great exponent 
of the art of bayonet fighting was a Major Campbell, of 
the Army Gvmnastic Staff, whose lectures were alreadv 
well known at the Army Schools, and who was now 
sent round the country to talk to ail Battalions. He 
had devised an entirelv new scheme of bayonet instruc- 
tion on verv simple vet practical lines, doing "away 
xvith manv of the old drill-book " points and parties," 
and training arm and rifle to act with the eye, hOt on 
a word of command. His poxvers as a lecturer were 
as great as lais keenness for his subject, and for two 
hours he held the attention of a hall full of ail ranks, 
speaking so vividlv that hOt one of us but came away 
feeling that we were good enough to fight six Boche, 
given a bavonet. He was particularly insistent on hot 
driving the bavonet home too far, and we shall alwavs 
remember lais " throat two inches is enough, kidnevs 
ontv four inches, just in and out." His svstem has 
now been adopted throughout the British Army, and 
ail 191î recruits xvere trained in it, but to us it came 
none too soon, for we xvere fast forgetting that we ever 
had such a weapon as a bavonet. 
On the 20th Mav out xvork in the forest came to an 


end and, as the Brigade was wanted for fatigues nearer 
the line, we moved by Pommera and Pas to Souastre, a 
village about threc mlles from the front trenches. The 
Sherwood Foresters were at present holding the 
Divisional front, and out chier task in the nev area 
was digging cable trenches from back Headquarter 
positions to forward batteries and obsel-vation posts, 
building and stocking ammunition and bomb stores, and 
assisting in the construction of numcrous gun pits. In 
fact, we were once more preparing as fast as possible 
for a " big push," though at the moment it was hot 
quite certain who was going to do the pushing ; rumour 
allotted this task to the 46th l)ivision. The work was 
verv hard, for di,,in, , a deep narrow trench, or loading 
flints at XVarlincourt quarries are no light tasks, and 
the weatber ruade conditions even more diflàcult than 
thev might otherwise have been. One dav it was so 
hot as to make continuous work for more than a few 
hours impossible, while the next, there would be three 
or four torrential tain storms, filling ail the trenches, 
and turninff the tracks to avenues of mud. 
However, in spite of out work, we managed to bave 
some fo.otball, and the I)ivisional Commander once 
more presented a cup. We started well, beattng the 
5th Lincolnshires in the second round, but then found 
ourselves opposed to out old rivais, the 4th Battalion, 
for the Brigade finals. The gaine caused the keenest 
excitement, and with the score at two. goals ail, the 
enthusiasm through the second half was immense. 
Unfortunately', there is a rate agalnst out defeating the 
4th Battalion, and, just before the end, out opp.o,nents 
mana«e A,..  to score the winnlng goal. 
On the -°4th Mav the heavv tain had ruade the 

Lens from tle Air 
rl Biais rie lqiaum«mt). 


trenches so wet that the garrison was unable to keep 
them clear, and in consequence we had to send a large 
working party up the line to help the Sherwood 
Foresters. The line, which we now saw for the first 
time, ran from about half a mlle North of Hébuterne, 
just East of FoncqueviIIers, and northwards towards 
Mv,nchy-au-bois, held bv the enemv. FoncqueviIIers 
was the centre of the position, and opposite it lay 
Gommecourt, a snaall village and Chateau, with a wood 
on one flank and the Çhateau park on the other--a 
strong posPdon strongly held. Further North, l'igeon 
\Vood and a little salient of trenches caIIed the " Z " 
were opposite the left of our I)ivisional front, while in 
the middle of No Man's Land, which averaged about 
400 vards wide, stood the ruins of Gommecourt 
Sucrerie, twentv vards from the main Foncquevillers- 
Gommecourt Road. 
Out trenches xvere in a somewhat curious condition. 
I)uring the winter the l)ivisien occup.ving this sector 
had round that thev were too weak to hold the whole 
trench, s'c> had selected certain positions xvhich they had 
strongl.v fortified and wired, and then filled the re- 
mainder of the trench with loose wire. The bad 
weather soon caused the disused sections of the trench 
to collapse, fixing the loose wire very firmlv on either 
side. From a purely defensive point o.f vlew there was 
no harm in this, but anv attacking force would need 
the whole trench for assemblv purposes and to " jump 
off," and the work of clearing the wired-up 
sections xvas verv hard indeed. The posts themselves 
were well dug and well sighted, there were one o.r two 
good communication trenches, and FoncqueviIlers, still 
well preser'ed in spite of its proximity" to. the Boche, 


providcd excellent homes for Battalio.n Headquarters, 
support Çc.mpanies, and even baths and eanteen. The 
enemy, exeept for some " rum jars " and heavy trench 
mortars from (ommecourt, xvas fairly quiet on the 
whole front, and, except when trousers had to be 
discarded to allow of wading in the front line, the 
trenches were bv no means uncomfortable. 
For the rest of 3,Iav we staved at Souastre, 
occasionallv visiting the line with xvorking parties, or 
on totlrs cf inspection, but for the part working 
in the Foncqtlevillers plMn, where battery positions 
withotlt ntlmber wcre being built. Bv the end of thc 
month we learnt the mcaning of ail these preparati.ons. 
(iommecotlrt was to be attacked in the near future in 
conjunction with cMaer greater attacks further South. 
The Staffords and the Sherwood Foresters were going 
to do the attack with their right on the Sucrerie, their 
left on the " Z," while the 56th l)ivisio,n on out right 
would attack the village from the S.E. The Park, 
most of the village, and the Chateau would thus not 
be directlv attacked, but it was hoped that the two 
I)ivisions xvould meet on the East side, and so eut off 
large numbers of Germans in the isolated area. Out 
Brigade was to be in reserve. Meanvhile, a large full- 
sized rnodel of the German lines was dug near Lucheux 
forest, where the attacking Brigades started praetising 
at once. lncidentally the mod.el took many aeres of 
arable land, and, though i.t was very xvell paid for, the 
French .rumbled loudly, and the 46th Division was 
known in Lucheux as " les autres Boches." 
On the evening of the 4th June we moved up through 
Foncquevillers, and relieved the 5th Sherxvood 
Foresters in the right sector, opposite Gornmeeourt 


Pari<. A road and bank, running parallcl xxith the 
front line, and ahout :00 vards behind it, provided 
Battalion Headquarters. Behind this again, the 
" Bluff," a steep bank, gave the support Company 
a good home. Here we remained until the 21st, with 
a two-davs' holidav at Humbercamps in the middle, a 
holidav spent in digging cable tronches and carryin 
trench mortars and anamunition. It was a long rime 
to renain in the line, but one Company lived always in 
a large bouse in Foncquevillers, where thev xvere very 
eomfortable, and c,uld get baths and other luxuries. 
The ènemy xvas hot verv active, and our most im- 
portant task was nov to prevent him from guessing 
our intentions. This soon became impossible, for, in 
addition to the ever increasing Artillery, the new table 
trenches, and the Lucheux model, we started to dig a 
new line of tronches some 100 vards in front of out 
front line, along the attack secto,r. Vt'e, being opposite 
the Park, did hot have to do this, but the I)ivision on 
our right and the rest of our Brigade on the left were 
both out digging every night. After the first night it 
became exceedingl.v dangerous, for the Boche, kn'o,xving 
exactlv where we xvere working, kept up a steady 
bombardment on the right with trench mortars, and, on 
the left, swept the ground continuouslv vith accurate 
machine gun tire. 'tVe were ordered to keep all hostile 
patrols out of No Man's La.nd, and consequently out 
parties were out most of the night. The Boche, how- 
over, showed no inclination to do the saine, and, even 
though we fixed up an insulting notice board in front 
<.f lais wire, never put in an appearance. Incidentallv 
the back of the board was covered with luminous pai_nt, 
and a Lewis gun xvas trained on it, so that anv inter- 
ference would have been promptl.v dealt with. 


Before we left the sector we were reinforced bv a 
draft of eight subaltern ofiïcers--2nd Lieuts. A. 
Ernrnerson, F. \V. A. Salrnon, \V. H. Reynolds, .-k. S. 
Heffill, A. \V. C. ZeIIey, M. J. S. Dysv.n, \V. K. 
Callard, and S. (;. H. Street, while at the sarne tirne 
we lost 21d Lieut. Brittain, who went to Hospital and 
thence to England. 
.-kfter practisig their attack several tirnes, the 
Staffordshires round that they had more tasks to fulfill 
than thev could accornplish. Accordingly they asked 
for help, al"ld were allotted one Battalion florn our 
Brigade, for which duty ve, having suffered least at 
Hohenzollern, 'ere chosen. \Ve vere to advance as 
a ninth wave behild the attackers, carrying stores and 
amrnunition; while one Conapany vas to dig a trench 
joining the Sucrerie to the (]errnan fvo,nt line--a com- 
munication trench for use after the fight. As soon as 
we left trenches and reached a hut camp at XVarlin- 
court e, too, started practising for the battle, which, 
we vere told, -ould take place at davn on the 29th 
Anv account of our doings during this rnonth would 
be incornplete vithout a reference to our one relaxation. 
The Divisional C,ncert Part.v, started in 1915, had 
more or less ceased to exist, but in Souastre in a large 
barn, the 56th Divisional troupe, the " Bow Bells," 
perforrned nightly to crowded houses. Many of us 
found tirne to. go more than once, and will always 
rernernber w.ith pleasure the songs, dances, and 
sketches, the drurnrner-ballet-dancer, and the catching 
rnelodies of "O Roger Rurn " and other nonsense. 
Meanwhile, feverish preparations were being rnade 
for the cornng battle, vhile the weather was as bad as 


possible. There never was a wetter June, and the new 
assembh- trenches, the recenth" cleared or newlv du K 
communication trenches, l)erbv l)y'ke, Nottingham, 
Stafford, Lincoln and Leicester Lanes, Roberts Avenue 
and " Crawl Boys Lane," and the cable trenches were 
alwavs fuli of water. \Vork on the gun pits was 
seriouslv delayed, and manv batteries had to more in 
before their pits were complete. Fortunateiv the 
enemv's artillerv was hot 1:oo active, and Foncque- 
villers was almost left alone, though he did one dav 
bombard the Çhurch. No damage was done, except 
that afterwards the one remalning face of the clock 
stated the rime as 2-15 instead of 11-t5, as for the past 
manv mo,nths. Tbe village was full of stores and 
expl,osives, and almost everw cellar held a bomb or 
ammunition reserve, while the Church crypt was filled 
with Mills and Stokes mortars under the cave of 
Serjeant Goodman. 
On the _'24th June our Artillerv registration started, 
and, with earh" morning bombardments and sudden 
harassing shoots at night, we ruade a considerable 
noise--" the sullen pufls of high explosives bursting 
in battalions," as Beach Thomas wrote in the " Daily 
Mail "--and clearlv showed the Boche that we meant 
business. This apparently was the inten.tion of the 
Staff, for, as the main attack was to be South of ris, 
it was the object of the IIIrd. Armv to attract as manv 
enemv as possible ,on this the extreme flank of the 
attack. So successful were we, that we dld actuallv 
frighten the enemv into reinforcing the Gommecourt 
area wlth an extra Division--unfortunate for us who 
xvere to attack the place, but doubtless of value to the 
4th Army, who vould thus bave one Division less 


against them. (ommecotlrt was naturally strong, and 
this addition to the garrison ruade it doubly so, while 
the Artillerv found it verv difficult to destroy the wire 
which was thick along the whole front. The trees in 
the w.o>d were all wired, and there were strong belts 
in front of everv trench, so that our field guns and 
trench mortars were kept hard at work almost all dav 
every da 3 , in their efforts to eut sufficient gaps for us. 
The enemy's gtlnS replied by registering out communi- 
cation trenches, and then remained silent. 
The camp at \Varlincourt was uncomfortable, and 
had no. olcers' mess, a luxurv which we much needed. 
However, Colour-Serjeant Collins displayed his usual 
skill, and, while Major Toller fixed up a home-ruade 
marquee of wagon sheets and odd tarpaulins, he 
managed to carrv on the cooking almost in the open. 
In spite of the rain which came through the roof and 
under the sides we had some excellent evenings, and 
managed to ejoy ourselves. Our work was mostlv 
training, which now included rapid wiring. I!1 this we 
held a competition, Inallv won bv ' B " Company, who 
put out a " double apron " French wire fence 20 vards 
long in jtlSt ,e-er four minutes--a good performance, 
though the other Companies declared that this fence 
would hot have stopped a rabbit, to say nothing of a 
Boche. Meanwhile, Major Toller suddenly received 
orders to report to the 51st Division to command a 
battalion of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, 
and, nmch to his disgust, had to leave us just before 
the fight. In anv case he would bave been out of the 
fight, for the authorities had at last realzed the mad- 
ness of sending a xxhole Battalion into action, and to 
avoid a repetition of the post-Hohenzollern difficulties, 

GO.MMECOt'RT. 137 

every Battalion was ordered to leave behind, at 
Souastre, the 2nd in Command and a proportion of 
officers, N.C.O.'s and specialists. These, known as 
the " Battle 1)etails," xvere subsequently- increased in 
number, and later a G.H.Q. publication fixed exactlv 
who would and who would hot accompany a battalion 
int,o battlc. As Major Bcaslcy had left us at Vimv and 
hot returned, Çapt. Shields became 2nd in Command 
and had to star bebind, a cruel blox to him, for be was 
essentiallv a fighting man. His Compan3, " I)," was 
taken bv Lieut. J. \V. Tomson of "A " Company. 
Capt. \Vard Jackson had " A," Capt. Knighton " B," 
and Capt. "C." R.S.M. R. E. Small was 
accidentallv wounded during re»:olver practice, and 
during the few weeks that he was away lais place was 
taken bv C.S.M.J. \Veir. 
I)uring the last tvo davs before the battle the 
weather became worse, and tbe rain fell in torrents. 
Ours was a comparatively drv sector of the line, and 
vet our trenches xere full of water, so that the cotmtrv 
in the neigbbourlmod o the Somme vallev became 
impossible. .go bad was it tbat at the last moment the 
whole offensive was postponed until 48 ours later--the 
1st July. The attacking Brigades had alreadv occupied 
their front line and assemblv positions before tbe new 
cancelling orderarrived, and the Stafl had now to decide 
whether to leave them for 48 bours in these bopelessly" 
wet trenches, or take lhem back to, rest--the latter 
course would necessitate two marches, in and out, in 
two davs. The marrer was settled bv the Crps Com- 
mander, who wished to see another practice attack over 
the Lucheux trenches, so the 4th Leicestershires and 
4th Lincolnshires held the line while Stafl'ords and 


Sherwood Foresters marched back. It was a long way, 
nearlv eleven mlles, from Foncquevillers to Lucheux, 
and bv the time thev re, turned t.o tre'nc,hes on the a0th 
thev were ail verv tired. However, everv man knew 
exactlv what to do, wbere to go and when; the rrost 
minute details had been worked out, and even in- 
dividuals as well as sections and platoons had been 
given definite tasks, so there xvas everv prospect of a 
successful fight the next dav. It was true the wire was 
in several places uncut, but still there were plenty of 
gaps, and tbis sbou[d be no obstacle. 
.q.c3n after naidnight :{0th June/lst Jul.v all the attack- 
ing troops were in position, and we moved up to 
Midland Trencb, an assemblv trench running North 
and South about 700 vards \Vest of Foncquevillers 
Cburch. " A " Company {Vard Jackson} and " D " 
Çompany {Tomson) were in cellars and dug«ots in 
the village, since thev would be wanted first. There 
were manv communication trenches along the front, up 
whicb we should advance, for at the last moment ail 
were ruade " up " trenches until after tbe attack; 
originally some were " up " and some " down." This 
eleventh hour alterati,o.n caused considerable confusion 
later. Meanwhile, throughout the night out gunners 
fired oo'ntinuoush- o.n the Boche trenches, villages, and 
particularl.v roads and railways, for we wished, if 
possible, to stop ail rations and ammunition from 
the G, ommecourt garrison. 
Dawn came at last--a fine dav. At 6-2 out barrage 
started, far more intense than anything we had used 
during tbe previous days, s.o that the Boche mav bave 
guessed what was .-,in« to happen. Smoke shells were 
mixed with the H.E., and at 7-30 a smoke trench 


mortar screen was put down, and the Infantry ad- 
vanced. Four waves crossed No Man's Land, and then 
the smoke blew away and the whole ¢3,f our attack was 
revealed. On the right the Staffords, passing the 
Sucrerie, round the German wire still strong, and had 
to struggle through where thev could, onlv to find manv 
enemy wlth their machine guns undamaged bv our 
bombardment. On the lcft the 5th and 7th Sherood 
Foresters entered the \Vood and pressed on, leaving the 
first enemv lines to the rear waves. But the smoke 
had gone and these rear waves had no protection. As 
the fifth line lcft our trenches it was met with machine 
gun tire from the North, from the " Z " and from the 
front line, 3ver which the Sherwood Foresters had 
passed. None the less the wave struggled on, until 
artillery was added to machine guns, field guns from 
Monchy enfiladed No lIan's Land, every German 
battery sent its shells into the carrying parties, and the 
attack was stopped. The two leading Staffordshire 
Battalions, except for a few who reached the enemy's 
lines, were held up on his wire or near the Sucrerie, 
where manv fell. The two leading Sherwood Foresters 
had crossed No Man's Land almost unscathed, had 
entered the German lines complete, and were ncver 
seen again. Commanding Officers, Battalion Head- 
quarters and their Companies were lost. The other 
four Battalions, after losing their leading wave, re- 
mained in our front trenches and sent back messages 
for m,ore smoke, while here and there gallant efforts 
were ruade by platoons and sections to take help into 
the wood. 
Meanwhilc, Capt. %Vard Jackson with his Companv 
Serjeant Major--J. R. Hill--and two platoons (Hep- 


worth and Salmon) went forward with the leading 
parties to dig tbeir trench from the Sucrerie. In 
spite of the heavv tire, and the losses of the attacking 
Brigades, thev started work and actually marked out 
their trench. But their task was impossible. Capt. 
\Vard Jackson, hit in the back and shoulder and verv 
badlv wounded, was onlv saved bv Serjt. Major Hill, 
who pluckil.v carried him out of the fight; and, seeing 
that the attack had failcd, "-'nd Lieut. Hepworth ordered 
the party back to our lines, where they round the rest 
of thc Battallon in the support line and communication 
trenches, waiting for the Staffordshires to more 
The situation was now critical. So far as we knew, 
the attack of the 56th Division on our right had been 
successful, yet, if we did hot meet them bv 2 p.m. on 
the far side of Gommecourt, hot onlv vould the 
operati be a failure, but there was every probabilit 5 
of their being eut off bv the Germans in Gommecourt 
Park. An attempt was therefore ruade to re-organize 
«tt once for another attack, but this was round im- 
possible. Out lines, hopelessly stickv from the bad 
weather, ere now co'ngested with dead and wounded; 
the communication trenches were jammed with stretcher 
cases and parties coming in, the " up " and " down " 
rules were hot observed, and, above all, the enemy's 
artillerv enfiladed the front line from the North, the 
communications from the East. The Division on out 
left did nothing bv wav o.f counter battery work, and 
we were left to face thelr opposing artillerv as well as 
out own. There was also another serious difficultv to 
re-organization. The men were too well trained in their 
particular duties. A private soldier who bas been told 


every da), for a month that his one dutv will be to carrv 
a box of bombs to point Q, cannot readily forger that, 
and take an efficient part in an ordinary unrehearsed 
attack. This, the Staff soon discovered, and, to give 
rime for ail arrangements tobe ruade, a new attack was 
ordered for 3-30 p.m. with artillery and, if possible, 
a smoke screen. 
Meanwhile, the enemv's artillerv was still active, and 
we suffercd. 2nd Lieut. Callard, a most promising 
junior oflicer, was killcd, and with him C.S.M. 1:. 
Johnson of " C " Crnpany. 2nd Lieuts. Russell and 
Creed were both wounded, and six men killed and 
scveral woundcd at thc samc time, ncarlv ail by shells 
in the communication trenches. 
At 3-30 p.m. our Artillery opened once more and 
our Companics stnrtcd forward, onlv to find that the 
Staffordshires ruade no more. It was hot surprising. 
Many of them had hot vet heard the rime for the new 
attack, manv wcre too tired to be much use, no one 
was really rcadv though some few tried to leave out 
lines. Such an assault was bound to fail, and for- 
tunately Col. Jones, who was on the spot atd just about 
to start with Capt. Allen, received the order to cancel 
the attaci« It would have been a useless waste of lires, 
for no good could bave corne of such a half-hearted 
effort. Half-an-hour later the Staffordshires were 
ordered to withdraw and the 5th Leicestershires to take 
over the front line, while the 5th Lincolnshires came in 
on out left and relieved the Sherwood Foresters. 
Ail hope of trying to help the Division on out right 
had to be abandoned. Thev bad reached the ene_rny's 
third line and captured several pris.oners in the morn- 
ing; some of lhern actually reachei:l the meeting place, 


but they, too., had toface two sectors of opposing 
artillery, for the attack on Serre on their right had 
failed, and their carrying parties and all supports for 
the leading u.nits were hopelessly enfiladed frorn the 
South. Their losses were verv heavy, and in the even- 
ilag, xxhen it becarne obvious that we could never help 
thern, thev left the enernv's lines and returned to their 
own trenches. But there was still hope of saving sorne 
of the rnissing Sherwood Foresters. Thev were known 
to bave reached the wood, for their lights had been 
seen bv out contact patrol aeroplane. Unfortunately at 
rnîd-dav this aeroplane tan into the cable of the kite 
balloon, and both were out o,f action for sorne hours--a 
rnost unhlckv accident. In case sorne of these her- 
wo,od Foresters rnight be still alive, the 5th Lincoln- 
shires rnade another advance at rnidnight---only a few 
minutes after arriving in the line--but round the enernv 
present in strength, and lost heavilv belote thev could 
regain our lines. 
The test of the night and ail the followinff day were 
spent in collccting the wounded and dead frorn out 
lines, frorn the newlv dug and now water-logged 
assemblv trench in ff.ont, and frorn No Man's Lan.d. 
Once more Capt. Barton display'ed the rnost wonderful 
courage, rescuing three rnen frorn a shell h.ole, in broad 
daylight, less than 200 vards frorn the Gerrnan lines, 
and spending the xvhole dav wandering about frorn one 
part to another, quite regardless of the danger so long 
as he could find a wounded man to help. The next dav 
was spent in the saine way, and bv the evening the 
trenches had been considerablv tidied up, wlaC, at 9 
p.m. we were relieved bv the London Regt. (Rangers), 
and rnarched back to Bielavillers au Bois, leaving some 


guides behind to help the newcorners. These last t'o 
davs cost us several casualties, anaongst thern Serjt. 
R. E. Foster, who was badlv wounded bv a shell. 
After the battle, General SHOW, the Corps Com- 
mander, sent round the following message :--" The 
Corps Cornrnander wishes to congratulate the troops 
of the 46th Divisio.n for the rnanner in which they 
fought and endured during the fighting o.u the 1st 
July. Many gallant acts, both by units and individuals, 
are to hand. Alflough (;omrnecourt bas hot fallen into 
out hands, the purpose of the attack, which was rnainlv 
to contain and kill Gerrnans, was accornplished." To 
this was added: " The Major General Cornrnanding 
wishes all ranks lo understand thoroughly that out 
recent attack on the Gornrnecourt salient in concert 
vith the 56th Division ernbraccd two purposes : (a) The 
capture of the position; (b) The retaining of consider- 
able numbers of Gerrnan troops in out imrnediate front 
in order to prevent thern takin. part in resisting the 
advance of our troops in the South. Although the first 
purpose was hOt achieved, the second was fulfilled, 
and there is no doubt that out action on the first 
materiallv assisted out troops in the 4th Arrnv and 
eontributed to their success. The above to be read to 
all troops on parade." 
In spite of this sornewhat cornforting" message, out 
action on the 1st was a failure. This cannot be denied. 
The retaining enerny's troops on out front was done bv 
out Artillerv and other preparatlon, and the extra 
Gerrnan Division xvas lured into the line oppositc us 
at least three days before the battle. Out assault rnade 
hot the slightest difference to this. Out object on the 
1st was to capture Gommeoeurt, and this we failed to 


do. It is comparatively easy to criticise after the 
cvent and find misCakes, but there were one or two 
obvious rea»ons for the failure which were apparent to 
all. The rapid dispersal of the smoke barrage, the 
terrible enfilade b.ombardment from the left conseqtlent 
on the inactivitv of the Division on out left, the failure 
of out Artillery to smash up German posts, and in some 
cascs German wire, and, perhaps the fact that out 
preparations were so obvious that the Boche was wait- 
ing for us. But in the face of ail this, fresh troops 
in ideal conditions might bave succeeded. Ours were 
tired after their journey t.o Lucheux and back, had had 
to lire several nigh.ts in hopelessly foui and water- 
logffed trenches, and, so far from fresh, were almost 
worn before thev startêd to attack. 



5rd July, 1916. 29th Oct., 1916. 
NOnTH of Gommecourt the enemv's line, after 
p.assing Pigeon wood, ran a fe yards ,Vest of Essarts 
village along the high ground to within a short distance 
of Monchy au Bois, then, turning V'est, made a small 
salient round this village, which lav in a cup-like 
hollow. Between Essarts and Monch.v, and on higher 
round still, stood Le Quesnoy Farm, which, with 
some long tall bedges in the neighbourhood, provided 
the Boche with excellent and well co.ncealed obser-ation 
posts and batterv positions. Bebind Monchy itself, 
and again on high ground, was Adinfer wood, and near 
it Douchv village, bo¢c.h full of well concealed batteries, 
while the trees in Monchv itself gave the enemv plenty 
of cover for machine guns and trench mortars. 
Opposite tbis our line was almost entirely in the open. 
From Foncquevillers it tan due North to the Hannes- 
camps-Monchy road, more than 1,000 vards from the 
enemv opposite Essarts and Le Quesnoy; then, cross- 
ing the ridge, dropped steeply to the Monchv cup, 
where, at the Bienvillers road, the lines xvere only 200 
vards apart. The onlv buildings near the line vere 
the tvo Mo-nchv mills, North and S.outh, both about 
80 yards from the front line and both little more than 


a heap of bricks with an O.P. concealed in the rniddle. 
Just South of the Bienvillers road a small salient, sorne 
180 vards across tan out towards the enernv's lines, 
cverlooked frorn two sides, and alwavs being battered 
out of recognitio,n bv trench mortars and bombs . 
The test of out front line systern was more or less 
ordinary--deep trenches witb, at intervals, a " ruined " 
dug-out fo.r Cornpany Headquarters. Owing to the 
appalling weatber ail trenches were very wet, including 
the ccrnrnunication trenches, of which there were 
several--Chiswick Avenue opposite Essarts, Lulu Lane 
alongside the Hannescarnps road, with Collingbourne 
Avenue branching off it, and, on the Mo.nchv side, 
Shell Street in the middle, and Stoneygate Street along- 
side the Bienvillers road. The last had been so named 
by the Leicestershire " New Army " Brigade, who had 
originally built the trench. Hannescarnps, a minute 
village, lay 1,000 yards floxn the line, partly hidden by 
a hollow, and, with an excellent bank full of dug-outs, 
was a home for Battalion Headquarters and one Corn- 
pany. Another Headquarters xvas in Shell Street, and 
lhe Support Battalion, with rnany batteries and others, 
|ived in Bienvillers au Bois, about 1½ bebind the 
line. ]'ornrnier, la Cauchie, and occasi,onally Hurnber- 
carnps were test billets still further back. Beyond them 
a arge farm, la Bazéque, w, as the h/)rne o,f all the 
Brigade transport and Q.M. Stores. Such was the 
sector into which the Division went after Gornrnecourt 
to test and gradually recuperate. Out Brigade had the 
Monchy front and the stretch with the wide No Man's 
Land opposite Essarts; we, as a Battalion, were sorne- 
tirnes North, sornetirnes South of the Hannescarnps 
Road, the o,ther Brigades were further North, in the 

MON('HY AL" BOIS. 147 

Ransart, Bailleulval and Berles area. Here we stayed, 
with one rest later on, for eight months. 
Soon after out arrival in Bienvillers, we were much 
surprised to see Colonel Toller again re,turn to us. \Ve 
thought that he really had got a permanent Command 
when he went to the Highlanders, but apparently a 
former Co.lonel returned a few davs after he arrived 
there, and he was consequently sent back. However, 
there were noxx many vacancies in our Division, and 
Col. Toller was at once sent to command the 7th Sher- 
wood F.oresters, the Robin Hoods--an appointment 
which poved to be permanent, and which he held for 
the next two years. At the saine rime, Lieut. N. C. 
Marriott, wounded at Hohenzollern, returned to us, 
and soon afterwards nd Lieut. J. C. Barrett joined us 
flom England, while we lost 2nd Lieut. G. E. Banwell, 
who. was slightly wounded at Gommeco.urt, and, after 
several efforts to remain with his unit, had to go to 
Hospital with a badly poisoned foot. \Ve also. lost our 
Divisional Commander, Major General the Hon. E. J. 
Montagu-Stuart-\Vortley, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., 
M. V.O., who went to England. Bef.ore he went, the 
following notice appeared in orders :--" On relinquish- 
ing the Command of the Division, General Stuart- 
\Vortlev wishes to thank ail ranks, those who 
bave been with the Division since mobilization, for their 
loyalty to him and unfailing spirit of dev¢ion to duty. 
He trusts the friendship formed mav be lasting, and 
wishes the Division good luck and God speed." To 
quote the Battalion \Var I)iarv--" The Major General 
bas commanded the Division since 1914; universal 
regret is openly expressed at his departure." 
The nexv Divisional Commander, Major General 


Thwaites, R.A., arrived soon afterards, and soon 
ruade himself to all uni.ts, n.troducing himself 
with a ceremonial inspection. Ours was at Bailleul- 
mont, where we were billeted for a few days, and o,n the 
afternoon of the 13th we formed up 650 strong to receive 
bim. After inspecting each man very carefully', the 
General addressed the Battalion, calling Çol. Jones 
" Col. Holland," and us the 5th Leicesters, two 
mistakes which were never forgotten, tt»ogh so.on for- 
given. He congratulated us on out appearance, and 
said that he read determination in out faces, promising 
to kno.xv t,s better bv seeing us in the trenches. "vVe 
then marched past him and went home. 
Our first few tours in this new sector might well be 
described as a nightmare of H,_,O and HS. It rained 
verv hard, and all the trenches at once became full of 
water--in some places so full that the garrison, as the 
weather was warm, discarded trousers and walked 
about with shirts tucked into sandbag bathing draxvers. 
Some of the communication trenches were in a par- 
ticularlv bad condition ,and worst o.f all was the verv 
deep Berlin Trench running alongside the road from 
Bienvillers to Hannescamps. A sort of " Southend- 
pier" gridded watk had been built into one side "of 
this about four feet fro.m the floor of the trench, and 
il some places even this was overed, so that the water 
in the trench itself was nearlv six feet deep. Pumps 
proved almost useless, and it was obvious that some- 
thing drastic would have tobe done if we were to 
remain in this part o.f the world for the winter. 
The H:2S was in cylinders. F,or some unknown 
reaso.n the Special Brigade R.E., or " gas merchants " 
as they were more popularly called, considered the 


Monchy hollow a particularly suitable place for their 
poison attacks. The resuh was that we spent ail out 
test periods carrying verv heavv cvlinders into the line 
or zmt again, terriblv clumsy, awkward and dangerous 
things to carry, while out trenches, already ruined by 
the weather, were still further damaged, under-cut and 
generally turned upside down to make room for these 
cvlinders. Then again, the actual gas projection caused 
a most appalling amount of trouble. The wind had to 
be exactlv XVest, for a touch of North or South would 
carry the poison over out miserable little salicnt, but at 
rimes the wind was due East, and on one occasion it 
remained obstinately in the wrong quarter for three 
weeks, while we lived in dailv terror of somc chance 
Boche shell hitting one of the cvlinders. On several 
occasions we had to assist with smoke candles and 
smoke bombs, and this, too, caused us much worry. 
Perhaps at dusk the wind would be favourable, and 
orders would arrive that gas would be discharged at 
11-31. At I1-31 we, having heard nothing to the con- 
trary, would light out smoke machines, and find no gas 
turned on. At 12-55 we sho.uld get another message bv 
some orderlv to sav " discharge postponed until 12-55 " 
--then, of course, nto rime to warn anybody, and no 
smoke left. 
The reason for this delay in the communication of 
orders was that out telephones were in a state of tran- 
sition. \Ve had discovered that the Boche with his 
listening sers could o,verhear all conversations carried 
on bv the ordin.arv field telephone, and consequently it 
was absolutely forbidden to use this instrument, except 
in emergency, within 2,000 vards of the front line. A 
new instrument, the " Fullerphone," was being intro- 


duced which could not be overheard, but che could not 
use it for talking; ail messages had to be " buzzed." 
Incidentallv the " buzzing" process produced a con- 
tinuous whining noise, and this, in a small Company 
Headquarter dug-out, was almost enough to drive the 
unhappy Company Cmmander off his head. The 
Fullerphone, too, was verv scarce at first, so that 
almost ail messages had tobe sent bv orderly, or runner 
as he now began to be called. This caused so much 
trouble that the next stage was the introduction of codes 
and code names. At first these were verv simple, we 
were " John " after Col. Jones, the 5th Lincolnshires 
" Sand," from Sandall, etc., while " gas " became the 
innocent " Gertie," and to attack xvas " to tickle." 
One verv famous message xvas sent whe.n an expected 
gas attack had to be suddenlv postponed--" John can 
sleep quiet to-night, Gertie will not tickle." Later we 
became " Sceptre," when all un,its in the Division were 
called after race-horses, and stil! later, when Brigade 
Headquarters became " Girl," we each had a ladv's 
name; we xvere " Gertrude." It sounded somewhat 
curious to hear a Staff Captain who had lost his 
Brigadier ringing up a Battalion Headquarters to ask 
" have vou seen a ' Girl ' about anvwhere? " The 
" Bab " code was also introduced, a three-figure code 
with innumerable permutations and combinations. The 
whole thing xvas verv secret, and added much to the 
worries of the Company Commander, who not only 
had to be careful not to lose the code boek, but had 
to remember, without writing it down, the Corps code 
letter and number for the xveek. 
In the saine way the Artillerv had all manner of 
codes for everv conceivable ,cccasion. Various mes- 


sages were devised and entered in the Defence Scheme 
for retaliation, S.O.S., raid purposes, etc., and woe 
betide the luckless F.O.O. or Infantryman who sent the 
wrong message. There were " co.ncentrates " and 
" Test concentrates," and " attacks " and " Test 
attacks," and " S.O.S. " and many others. If anv- 
*hing serious really happened, the lines were alwavs 
broken at once, and there remained o,nlv the rockets 
and coloured iights. The S.O.S. signal was almost 
sacred, hOt tobe used for a hostile raid, or when retalia- 
tion was needed, but onlv in the event of the enemv 
massing for a general attack. However, it as once 
used--in a rather curius little battle fought on the 
4th August, 1916. 
Out trench s'rength at the time was verv xveak, 
because two davs later xve were to raid the enemv's lines 
opposite Mo,nchv salient, and the raiding party had been 
left out of the line at Pommier to practice. At 3-30 a.m. 
on the 4th the Boche, either annoved at our wire- 
cutting, or to celebrate his favourite anniversary, the 
declaration of war, opened a heavv tire with guns, 
mortars, rifle grenades, co.loured lights and every'thing 
els.e imaginable. The noise was terrific, and the CO. 
and Adjutant rushed to the Defence Scheme to find 
what was the correct message to senti; most of the 
nise was at trench 86. Thev decided to tell the Gun- 
ners " assist L," but, between F.O.O. and signais, this 
reached the Artillerv as " assist 86," which was 
meaningless, so thev did n'o'thing. Meanxvhile, our 
Lewis Guns could be heard, so Col. Jones, unable to 
telephone to Companies whose lines were ail cut, finallv 
sent the S.O.S. The reply was prompt and terrifie. 
There was plenty of ammuniion, and ail the gunners, 


wakened bv the bombardment, were onlv to,o anxious 
to shoot, so that within a few minutes everv weapon, 
from an 18 pounder to a 12 « gun on railwav mounting, 
was raining shells into Mo.nchv and its surroundings. 
It was verv effective, but n.cyne the less there had tobe 
an enquir.v into " who had dared to use the .<,.O.S.," 
and, when the facts were ail brought to light, the 
F.O.O., Lieut. Cave, partly responsible for the initial 
mis.take, earned the name of " S.O.S. Cave," which 
stuck to him till he left the Division. 
The raid was nota great success. For several davs 
"C " Company, who were chosen for the task, carried 
out continuous practices at Pommier, first under Çapt. 
M.ould, and later, when he had to go to Hospital with 
septic tonsilitis, under Capt. Shields. Capt. Moore was 
at the Armv School at the time. The Infantrv arrange- 
ments were ruade satisfactorily, but there vas little or 
no opportunity for the Gunners to observe the result of 
their wire-cutting, with the result that, when the party 
went over on the eveninff of the 5th, thev round no 
gaps. The raiding party advanced in four groups, each 
group with bombers, bavonet men, and sappers for 
demolition work, and each under an officer--2nd 
Lieuts. Steel, Barrett, Heffill and Morris. The party 
removed all marks of identification, but wore their 
oollars turned up, and a small patch of white on the 
back of their collars for "mutual recognition. 
At 11-0 p.m. the party left out trenches and lav out 
in front of out wire, waiting for out bombardment, 
which I5 minutes later opened on the enemv's front 
line. The shooting was excellent, but the backward 
burst from out 6 inch Howitzers caused several 
casualties; amongst .o,thers 2nd Lieut. Steel was badly 

MONCHY Al." BOIS. 153 

wounded in the leg. At Zero, 11-25 p.m., we 
advanced, but found no means of getting through the 
wire, while the Bocbe sent numbers of bombs and rifle 
grenades the whole front. The part 3" acted 
verv coo'llv and searchcd carefullv for gaps, but, 
finding none, threw their bombs and returned, guided 
to our lines by rockets and lanterns. Six men were 
missing. A curious thing happened when out search 
party, under L/Cpl. Archer, went out to look for 
them. A German machine gun, hearing the move- 
ment, opened tire, and, at the saine m.o,ment, out 
'" Flying l'iff "--240 mm. trench mortar--which had 
jammed during the barrage, suddenly went off and 
dropped its sbcll cxactly" on the gun team. The 
following night Coblev's body, one of the raiders, 
was round in a shell-hole, and soon afterwards two 
others, \Vorth and Sommers, returned to our lines, 
having been lost the previous night. Barkbv was 
round dead a dav later, and Duckett's bodv was buried 
bv a patrol which round it during the following tour. 
The sixth was l'rivate " Artv " Carr, who returned 
unhurt at 11-0 p.m. on the 8rb, after three davs. 
During the raid he had left his party, and, while they 
worked to tbe left, looking for a gap, had gone to 
the right, where, outside the raid area, he round the 
wire thin. He had entered the German lines, 
had some exciting times with a post which he bombed, 
and then tried to get out, onlv to find that he had 
moved awav from his original gap, and was now 
confronted by some verv .trong wire. He did hOt 
get through until dawn on the 6th, so then lav in a 
shetl hole until dark, when he started to return. Tired 
and somewhat exhausted, he lost hîs wav in the waste 


of shell holes and mortar cratcrs round the Monchy 
Salient, and did hot finit]Iv find out lines until the 
Out total casualties were three killed and one officer 
and 15 wounded. To these must be added Captain 

Barton, who had a most unfortunate accident. Always 
wanting to be " up and doing," he wa'uched the raid 
and heIped the wounded, standing on our front line 
parapet, but, turning to re-enter the trench, slipped 
and bayonetted ]ïimself in the thigh. It xvas not a 


very serious w,ound, but woulifl hOt heal, and he had 
to be sent to England. \Vith him we lost another 
valuable oNcer, 2nd Lieut. "Villiams, xvho, while acting 
as bornb instructor at Brigade Headquarters, met with 
an accident, and was woundcd in the head. Not long 
aftervards, Serjt. Goodman, out chier N.C.O. 
Instructor, who was wounded, and lost one of his legs 
and part of an arm as the result of a bombing accident 
at the I)ivisional School. 1)uring this first month out 
casualties, " holding the line," were very slight, 
though we lost three good N.C.O.'s through shell tire. 
Serjt. Shreeves, of "C " Company, died of vounds, 
Çpl. Ambrose, of "B " Company, was killed outright 
near Hannescamps, and later Serjt. V. Gartshore, of 
" C " Company. 
Betweesa raids and gas attacks we were kept hard 
at work repairing out trenches. General Kemp was 
a sapper before he became an lnfantry Brigadier, and 
we were soon instructed in the mvsteries of sump-holes, 
" berms " and " batters," interlocking trench floor 
boards, and the correct angles for the sloping sides of 
a trench, while anyone who dared to undercut a parapet 
for anv purpose had better hot be present the next time 
that the General appeared. As far as possible all 
the carpentry work was d<ne by the Sappers out of 
trenches and sump-frames were sent up ready ruade, 
also small dug-outs in numbered parts, easilv put 
together; all we had to do vas to dig the necessary 
holes. At the same time some genius invented the 
"A " frame, a really wonderful labour saving device. 
Hitherto floorboards had been supported on piles and 
crossbars, while further and longer stakes were driven 
in to carry the rivetment. The new frame shaped like 


a flat-topped letter " A," was put in the floor of the 

trench upside down. The legs 
held tbe reverra.ont against the 
rides, the floorboards rested on 
the cross-piece, and the space 
between the cross-piece and the 
fiat top forrned a good drain. 
These were first used in corn- 
rnunication trenches only, where 
the Monmouthshires were at 

work for us; later we used thern in ail trenches 
wherever possible. 
Meanwbile, when not in trenches, we rested, first 
at Bienvillers and later at Pornnrnier. Bienvillers had 
rnany good billets, but was too full of our heavy 
artillery to be pleasant, for the noise was often very 
disturbing. Tbe enerny, too, used to shell the place, 
and 2nd Lieut. Shipston had a most remarkable escape 
one dav when standing in front of a first floor window, 
shaving. A whizz-bang lait the window sill and carried 
itself, sill and rnany bricks, between his legs into the 
room; he hirnself was untouched. Another earlv rnorn- 
ing bornbardrnent round the Doctor in his bath. He 
left it hurriedlv and hastened, dripping and unclothed, 
to the cellar, which he round already contained several 
officers and the ladies of his billet. But this star in 
Bienvillers is rnost rernernbered on account of a slight 
fracas wbich occurred between Col. J.ones and a visiting 
Arrny Sanitation Officer. A full account is given in 
two entries in the \Var Dialw. The first, dated the 
23rd July, savs sirnply--" Major T, Sanitation 
Officer, IIIrd. Arrny, carne to look at billets. We 
received hirn coldly-, and in consequence got a bad 


report, see later." The second entry, a week later, 
is dated 30th July. " The Sanitary report referred to 
carne and we replied. The report detailed rnany ways 
in which we, as a Regirnent, vere living in dirt, and 
rnaking no atternpt to follow comrnon-sense rules, or 
to irnprove out state. It stated that we had been in 
the village three days, and thus irnplied that there 
could be no excuse. Out reply asserted that the in- 
accuracv of the report rnade it worthless. That, 
thougb the Regirnent had been there three days, the 
Arrny, which the gallant Major T. represented and 
worked for, had been in the village sorne rnonths. 
That Major T.'s party had done nothilg to put or keep 
the billets in order, to put up incinerators, or in any 
wav to rnake s-uitable billets for soldiers resting frorn 
trench dutv. [t suggested that Major T. had neglected 
his dut.v, and thus was hot in a position to judge a 
Pommier was rnuch pleasanter, and was verv seldorn 
shelled. Brigade Headquarters lived there, and, with 
the aid of an energetic Mavor and out invaluable inter- 
preter, 3I. Bonassieux, had done rnuch to irnprove the 
billets. There were plenty of civilians who were good 
to us, though, to quote the \Var Diary again, 26th 
August, "A complaint was rnade bv the Maire that 
certain of our officers were bathing in the open, and 
that this was hot counted amongst the indecencies the 
French permitted." At about the sarne rime, during 
one of out test periods, we were inspected bv General 
Thwaites--a full cerernonial inspectionl, the first of 
rnany of these much dreaded ordeals. Again it is im- 
possible tri improve on the accourir given by the çVar 
Diarv. " At 2-30 we were drawn t,p in close colurnn in 


Ceremonial--Companies sized. \Ve received the new 
G.O.C. with several sait, tes, the last was probably the 
worst. The Battalion was then closely inspected, and 
a few names taken for unsteadiness, dirty buttons, 
badlv fitted packs, and the like. A slight confusion 
between the terms packs and equipment led us to take 
off equipment, and we then formed up as a Battalion 
in Brigade. 'Ve sah, ted again, this rime we had no 
bayonets, and then marched past bv Companes and 
back in close column several rimes. Then, bv a 
questionable, though hot questioned, :qanceuvre, we 
came back again and advanced in review order. The 
Brigade Band was in attendance and played the 
Br,gade Match in place of the Regimental March, 
because it did not know the latter. Vhile still in 
Ceremonial order, we finished bx" doing Battalion drill, 
under th.e general idea 'keep movin..' We kept 
moving for two hours in ail, and it was universally 
conceded that the men rrmved verv well. One or two 
of the nexvly arrived officers were unequal to the occa- 
sion. It was a good dav in the country, and, in the 
senior officers, stirred up pleasant memories of old 
peace time annual inspections." The exceeding tierce- 
ness of the General on this Inspection had an amusing 
sequel when, a week later, two of our soldiers xxere 
repairing a road ot, tside the Brigade office. One re- 
garded the other's work for a few minutes critically, 
and then exclaimed fiercely, " Ver)" ragged, verv 
ragged, do it again!" It is onlv fair to add, that, 
terrible as was the ordeal of a Divisi:o.nal Inspection, 
the General kept his original promise, and spent mare" 
hours in the foremost trenches, " that he might know 
us well." 


The evening of this same inspection was one o[ the 
few occas,ions on which Pommier wa,s bombarded. A 
sudden two minutes' " hate " of about 40 shells, 4.2 
and 5.9, wounded three men and killed both the C.O.'s 
h<)rses, " Silvertail " and " Baby "; both came out 
with the Battalion. \Ve still, however, had some good 
animals left, as was obvious at the Brigade Sports 
and Race meeting held on tbe l lth September at la 
Baz(.que Farm. This was a most succcssful show, and 
the onlv pity was that we were in trenchcs at the time, 
and so could onlv send a limited number of ail ranks 
to take part. The great event of the day was the 
steeplechase. Tbe Staff Captain, Major J. E. Viccars, 
on " Soilomon," led ail the way, but was bea,ten in 
the last twentv yards by Major Newton, R.F.A. 
Lieut. L. H. Pearson was third on " Sunlock II.," the 
transport Serjeant's horse. It was a remarkable per- 
formance, for he decided to ride at the last 
moment, and neither he nor horse had trained at ail 
The Battalion did well in other events, winning 1st 
and nd places in both obstacle and mule faces, and 
providing the best cooker and best pack p0.ny; the 
two last were a great credit to the Transport Section. 
One of the features of the day was the Bookes' G.S. 
wag'on, where two oflïcers disg'uised with top bats, 
yellow waistcoats and pyjamas, carried on a success- 
fui business as "turf accountants." At a VIIth. 
Corps meeting, held a fortnight later on the saine 
course, we secured two places for the Battalion : Capt. 
Burnett came home nd in an open steeplechase, and 
Capt. Moore 3rd in one for Infantry oflïcers only. 
During September out Mess, already up to strength, 
was considerably increased bv a large draft of Oflïcers. 


First we were glad to see Major (;riffiths back as 
Second in Command, though sorry for Captain John 
Burnett, who had t.o go back to Transport for the time. 
With Major Griffiths came 2nd Lieuts. J. R. Brooke, 
S. Corah, and \V. I. Nelson, while within the same 
month, or shortlv afterwards, 2nd. Lieuts. L. A. 
Nelsn, J. H. Ball, 1'. Ieasures, T. L. Boynton, V. 
C. 'Valley, YV. Lambert, M. F. l'oynor, and J. A. 
Wrtlev ail arrived. In October al,so Serjeant 
Beardmore, M.M., of " C " Co,mpany, who had latterly 
being doing exceptionally good work with the Bat- 
talion Scouts, was given lais Comnaission in the Field, 
and reposted as a platoon Commander to the old Com- 
pany. Capt. Barton's place as M.O. was taken by 
Caplain T. I). M.organ, of the 2nd Field Ambulance. 
At the same time a stroke ,of bad luck robbed us of 
2nd Lieut. Coles, who was badlv wounded. During a 
raid of the tth Lincolnshires in October it vas out dutv 
to cause a diversion bv blowing up some tubes of 
ammonal in the Boche wire. The party, led by 2nd 
Lieut. Coles, was abct to leave our trenches when 
a rifle grenade or " pine apple " bomb dropped in their 
midst and exploded one of the tubes, doing much 
During these long months of trench warfare a 
considerable advance was ruade in the work of the 
Intelligence department of the Infantrv Battalion. A 
year ag.o one officer did dutv for a whole Brigade, 
now each Battalion had its Intelligence officer, its 
scouts and observers, and its snipers, sometimes 
the last under a separate officer. The duties of the 
Intelligence section were manv. Thev must sec and 
report every little thing which happened in the enemy's 


lines, no small detail must be omitted. The number 
and colours o.f lais signal lights on different occasions, 
the relative activity of lais different batteries and their 
positions, the nmvement of his transport, the location 
of his mortars and machine guns, the trench reliefs, 
ail these must be watched. The immediate purpose 
xxas of curse retaliation, counter battery work, the 
making of otlr bombardments more effective by picking 
out the tender spots in his lines, and generall.x 
haras.sing the encmy; but there was a furthcr purpose. 
It xvas particularly necessarv that the higher com- 
mands stmuld be kept info.rmed of ail the big move- 
ments of troops, the state of the enemv's discipline, 
etc., and often some little incident seen in the front 
line would give the clue to one of these. Lieut. L. 
H. Pearson was at this time Intelligence officer, 
helped by Serit. Beardmore, M.M., L/Cpl. \Vathey, 
l'te. A. E. Gilbert, and others. There was of oeurse 
also the humorous side to their ork, and many 
amusing things were seen, or said to be seen, throalgh 
the observers' tclescopes. The old white-haired Boche, 
digging near Monchy, xvho looked so benign that no 
one would shoct him, became quite a famous character, 
until one dav lais real nattlre xxas revealed, for he shook 
his fist at one of otlr low-flying aeroplanes, and 
obviouslv uttered a string of curses, so one of the 
snipers sl»ot him. Then again there was the lady of 
Douchy, who coalld be seen each coming Otlt tO 
bang up the washing; she was popularly known as 
Mary, and figtlrcd in the reports nearlv everv dav. 
\Vith the observers worked the snipers. After 
nearly two years, telesco.pic sights at last appeared, 
.and xve tried to train the once despised " Bisley shot." 


They were very keen, and had much success, of which 
thev were duly proud, as their individual reports 
showed. " We watched for  of an hour until out 
viggillance was rewarded bv seeing a Boche; he ex- 
posed hall of himself above tbe parapet, I, Pte. , 
shot him," so said report, the naine has un- 
fortunatelv been lost. Some snipers even kept a book 
of their " kills," with entries such as " June 1st, 9-.30 
a.m. Boche sentrv looldng over, shot in shoulder, 
had grey hair alrnost bald very red face and no bat." 
It was just the right spi,rit, and i¢ its results. 
Autumn, 1915, saw us hardlv daring to look over the 
top for fear of being sniped; Auturnn, 1916, saw us 
masters, doing" just what we pleased, when we pleased. 



29th Oct., 1916. 15th April, 1917. 
M.'NV Divisions were now taking part in the Somme 
battle for the second time, and as we suddenly left 
Pommier on the 29th October---our final destination 
unknown--we naturallv thought it probable that we, 
too, should soon be once more in the thick of the 
fighoEing. However, our fears were groundless, and 
we mowed due \Ves.t, not South. Our first night we 
spent in Mondicourt, and then moved the next dav in 
p0uring rain to Halloy, where we stayed two days. On 
the 1st November we marched 14 toiles through 
Do.ullens to Villers L'Hôpital, on the Auxi le Chateau 
road, where we round out new Padre waiting for us, 
the Rev. C. B. V. Buck. The march was good, and 
no one fell out until the last hall mlle, a steep hill into 
billets, which was too much for six men; as we had 
done no real marching for several months, this was 
very satisfactorv. There was onlv one incident of 
interest on the way, a small collision between the 
heavily laden mess cart and the level crossing gates 
at Doullens, due to the anxiety of the ladv gate-keeper 
to the gates and let the Paris express through, 
a feat which she accomplishcd, despRe all the efforts 
cf out Transport, which was consequently cut in hall. 


The folloxving dav it rained again, and we marched 
to Conteville, staved a night, and went on to Millen- 
court the next morning. Here we round good billets 
and, as we were told we were likelv to remain a month, 
fixed up a Battalion Mess in the Farm Chateau. 
We were soo,n informed that we had hot corne to 
Millencourt to test, but to carrv out " intensive train- 
ing" to fit us for offensive action. This meant very 
hard work ail the morning, manv afternocns, and two 
or three n.ights a week as well. The idea was to devote 
the first week to l'latoon and Cmpany work, the next 
to Battalion drill and training, and to finish out course 
with some big Brigade and I)ivisional davs. The 
weather was hot very good, but we managed to do many 
hours work, the usual physical training, bayonet fight- 
ing, steadv drill, and extended order work, night 
compass work and lectures. The most exciting event 
was one of the niht trainin,*s when Col. Jo,nes com- 
bined cross country with keeping direction in 
the dark. The running was verv successful, but the 
runners failed to keep direction, and van for many 
toiles, gettin. in many cases completely lost; far into 
the night the plaintive notes of the recall bugle could 
be heard in the various villages of the neighbourhood. 
Soon after our arrival a Divisional Sports Committee 
drew up a programme for a meeting to be held at the 
end of out training, and to consist of football, boxing, 
and cross country rtmning. Eliminating heats and 
events had t,o be decided beforehand, and, with Lieut. 
Heffill and Serjt. J. Vardle to look after the boxing, 
and Capt. Shields as "O.C Football," we started 
training without delav. At the football we had out 
usual luck, for, after a good victorv over the 4th 


Linc<)lnshires, we were «ace more beaten by out own 
4th Battalion. The last gaine was very exciting, and 
feeling tan so high that the language o.n the touch line 
became terrible, and would bave shocked even a 
Brigadier. The finals of the boxin.g and cross country 
running could not take place until later when we had 
left the area. On one or two ,f the spare afternoons 
we managed to get some Rugby football, and had 
some excellent gaines, during which we di.covered that 
our l'adre was a performcr of considerable merit. 
On the "22nd November we started back Eastwards, 
and, after a night at l'rouville and two at Fortel, 
arrived in the pouring tain at Halloy, where we were 
told we should stay for about a week. "Ve were put 
into the buts, which were unfirfished and entirely unfit 
for habitation, while to make matters worse, the field 
in which thev stood had bec.orne a sea of mud. After 
the good billets of blillencourt, this change for the 
worse produced the inevitable sickness, and, in addition 
to manv N.C.O.'s and men wbao went away with lever 
and influenza, we lost for a short time Col. Jones, and 
several of the officers. Amongst them was 2nd Lieut. 
J. R. Brooke, who had long ago been warned against 
the danger of again getting nephritis, but in spite of 
*his refused to star awav from the Battalion, and 
sisted on braving even the worst weather and the 
wettest trenches. About the same rime, Captain 
Burnett went to England, going to Hospital from the 
Armv School. 
The week in these horrible surroundings was 
lengthened to a fortnight, and we were at last able 
to hold the finals of the cross countr run. Manv of 
the Battalion entered, and over two hundred came 


t»ome in the time, a verv good performance, though 
hot good enough to win. The boxing "ournament was 
held still later at St. Amand, and we sent two entries. 
In the heavy weights, Boobver was beaten on points 
after a plucky fight, and in the feather weights, 
O'Shaugncssy knocked his opponent all over the place, 
and wc)n in the seco.nd round. 
On the 6th I)ecember we marched to the Souastre 
buts, where the Colonel returned to us, and we once 
more began to feel fit; the buts here xxere hot palaces, 
but were far better than those we had left at Halloy. 
On the llth we moved up through Bienvillers and went 
into our ld trenches opposite Monchv. But the recent 
heavy rains had undoae all the good that we had done 
in the earlv autumn, and thcy were now in a very 
bad state. On the right of the H-annescamps road 
thev were particularly bad, and Liverpool Street, which 
ran from Lulu Lane to the front line, was almost 
impassable. There was the saine terrible cliaging 
mud, feet dccp, that xve had round at Richebourg a 
year before, and the old troubles of lost gum boots 
began again. Fortunately we were now prepared, and 
were able to co.mbat the dangers of " trench foot." 
Each Company had its dr.ving room--a dug-out occu- 
pied by the Stretcher bearers, and kept warm by an 
ever burning brazier. Here at least once in every 24 
hc)urs eve.rv man who could possibly have got wet 
feet, and everv man wearing rubber boots, came, had 
his feet rubbed, and was given dry socks and boots, 
while at Headquarters and in Bienvillers were larffe 
drying rooms where the wet boots could be dealt with. 
In this wav we were able to keep almost free from the 
compla.lnt, and the fexv men whose feet did rail were 


ail men who had had " trench feet" the previous 
vinter, and were o,nsequently alvays liable to it. 
Ail this time it was hot only wet, but cold, and after 
Christmas it became colder until the first week in 
January, when heavy ShOW fell. Thenceforward, until 
the middle of Februaç', there vas co.ntinuous frost vith 
occasional heavv falls of SHOW, thcrugh generally the 
davs and nights were fine and clear. For several feet 
down, the ground was frozen hard, and digging became 
absolutelv impossible. There was nov solid ice instead 
of water in the trenches, and the front line sentries 
found their task a partizuarly cold Fortunately 
bv this time the trench cook-house was hot only an 
established thing but had become a very successful 
affair, and four rimes a day hot meals were carried in 
tanks and food containers from Battalion Headquarters 
to the front line. For this purpose the rectangular 
tanks from the cooks' wagons were used, being carried 
bv two men, on a wooden framework or stretcher. 
Along a ri)ad or up a well ruade c.ommunication trench 
this was a comparatively light task, but to carrv a tank 
full of hot tea over slippery shell holes and through 
knee-deep mud was a difficult matter, and on more than 
one occasion a platoon lost its h drink at night 
through the disappearance of the carriers into some 
shell hole. The wonderful thing was that both tea-less 
plat,oon and drenched ca.rriers would laugh over it all. 
Christmas Dav was spent in trenches. \\re were 
relieved in the afternoo.n bv the 4th Battation, who had 
their festivities on Christmas eve, and went back to 
Souastre, where the f, ollowing dav we, to.o, had out 
dinner. Pigs had becn bought and killed, and we ail 
gcrged urselves on toast pork and plum pudding, 


washing them down with beer--a verv satisfactory 
performance There were also the usual gaines and 
Company dinners, and we ail spent a very enjoyable 
few davs. Later on we managed to arrange a Battalion 
concert which was a tremea3dous success, and voted by 
all a m,o,st excellen,t evening; the " sta.r" turn was 
Colone'l Jones, who gave a recitatio,n. 
Th,e xeather made raids and active operations im- 
possible, and thou.h we ruade all preparations for a 
rifle grenade demonstration to assist a Staffcrdshire 
raid on New 'ear's night, this had to be cancelled on 
account of the snow. Patrols, however, still continued 
to tour No Man's Land in the hopes of finding a stray 
Boche, or eaacoun'tering a Boche patro,l. In from of 
Essarts the lines were so far apart that there was 
plenty of room for a small pitched battle, and night 
after night Lieuts. Pearso,n, Creed, Po.vnor, and others 
visled such familiar haunts as the "Osier Bed," 
" Thistle Patch," " Lonelv Tree,'" and other well- 
'known places. The first to meet the enemv was Lieut. 
l'earson, who came upon a small party in the " Thistle 
Patch," who ruade ,off rapidly back to their lines. Our 
patrol used their rifles, but, though thev hit one of the 
enemy, failed to take a priSoner, and for a week or two 
the Boche did not shoxv himself. Then o,n the 10th 
January, 2nd Lieut. Creed, vith a mixed party of scouts 
from all Companies, whi.le reconnoiteri,ng the " Osier 
Bed " suddenlv found that a party o.f the enemv was in 
their right rear and close to our wlre, where four of 
them could be seen. Our patrol turned at o,nce and ran 
straight at the four as fast as thev could, coming, as 
they ran, under a heavv tire from a Boche covering 
party lying so,me 50 vards out. Pte. A. Garner was 


killed outright, but the remainder, led by "2nd Lieut. 
Creed and l'te. Frank Êastwood of "C " Company, 
rushed on and wounded and captured o,ne of the four, 
who was round to be the officer. The remainder of the 
enemy took the alarm in time and ruade off. The officer 
proved t.o be an English-speaking subalern of the 55th 
Regt.--our old opponents of Hohenzollern in October, 
1915. He was led down to the Aid l'osl to have his 
wound dressed, much to the disgust of Captain Tcrry, 
the M.O., who would bave liked to bave killed him 
outright, though Serjeant Bent, the medical orderly, 
took compassion on his shivering prisoner and fed him 
on hot tea, and actually gave him a f¢)ot warmer! 
This little affair caused the Boche extreme annoyance, 
and the following dav he spent the morning shooting 
at Berlin Trench, the Bienvillers road and Bienvillers 
itself, round the Church. As xxe were relieved during 
the morning we had to match out through it ail, and 
fiound it particularly unpleasant, especially xhen a shell 
hit the R.E. l)ump, exploded an ammuni*ion store, and 
sent the house at the Church corner several hundred 
feet into the air. 
At this time there were again several changes in the 
personnel. Çapt. G. \\'. Allen wen.t to Brigade Head- 
quarters and thence to the Crps School as an In- 
structor; Çapt. J. D. Hills, who took his place, fell 
do'wn and injured his knee so badly that it took him 
to England for six months: Çapt. Knightou was ruade 
Town Major at St. Amand, and Çaptain Mould went 
to Çapt. "Vollaston rejoined us, bringing 
with him 2nd Lieut. Banwell and a new subaltern, nd 
Lieut. D. Campbell. Snd Lieut. C. H. Morris acted 
as Adjurant. 2nd Lieut. J. R. Brooke paid one of his 


periodical visits to the R.A.M.C., driven thither by 
the M.O., who was afraid he would die on his hands, 
but returned to us again soon afterwards. 
During the last fortnight of January we had several 
Units of the 58th (London) Division attached to us for 
instruction. They vere one of the first " second-line " 
Territ,oeial Divisions to reach France, and were folloxved 
bv our own second-line, the 59th, who went for their 
initiatin to the most So.uthern" end of the British front, 
and xve consequently did not see them. Nothing of 
anv ne happened during their stay, except a heavy 
gas shell bombardment on "D " Company's (Capt. 
Sh,ields') treaqches. The men were ail warned in time and 
put on helmets, so that we had no casualties. The 
shells were almost noiseless, so that when the gas blew 
over the crest into "B " Company (Capt. V'ollaston), 
who were in support, it vas tho,ught to be cloud gas 
and the Strombos horns were sounded. The flank 
Units sounded theirs, too, and Bienvillers took it up, 
much to the annovance of the batteries and staffs who 
were thus unnecessarilv disturbed, since the Strombos 
should never be used for gas shells onlv. It was a 
verv natural mistake, but we were severelv " strafed '" 
bv the authorities; however, as we had ro easualties, 
and there had been manv in other Units, we ended by 
being congratulated. 
On the 14th Februarv came the beginnings of the 
thaw, and with it the first rumours of a German with- 
drawal. Three davs later the enemv shelled Foncque- 
villers heavil_v, apparently with a view to a raid, or 
possibly to deceive us into thinking that he did not 
mean to re,tire. Our guns replied, and the Right Hall 
Battalion under M,aio,r Griffiths, who vas already 


quartered in the village, stood to, but n.othing happened. 
The remainder of the Battali.on xvith the Headquarters 
was now in Bienvillers in Brigade reserve. The weather 
once more became frosty, and there ,,vas a thick mist 
almost every day. On the 23rd we relieved the 4th 
Battalion, and occupied some 2,500 yards of fro.rit line 
opposite Gommecourt, where the Huns shelled us at 
intervals ail the next day, but did no damage. At 
midnight 24th/Sth the Brigadier had reason to believe 
the Boche was going to leave his lines, and a strong 
patrol under Maj,o.r Grifliths went out to reconnoitre. 
They eut many gaps in the wire, but found the German 
front line still held. At dawn it was very foggy, and 
there was some shouting heard in Gommecourt, which 
sounded like " Bonsoir," but at 7-10 a.m. the enemv 
opened a heavy bombardment which lasted 3½ hours. 
Shells of every kind were fired and out trenches hit 
in several places; on.e man was killed. The next night 
patrols were again out and, though it xvas round that 
the Boche had evacuated Gommecourt Park, he was 
still in the village, where the following morning dug- 
outs were seen to be on tire. "Vire was cut and 
everything prepared for the advance. 
Ho.wever, the Boche still hung on to his line, and on 
the evening of the -°6th and at dawn the following 
morning out patrols still round him there. _°nd Lieuts. 
Banwell and Beardmore and Serjt. Growdridge were 
constantly out, waiting for a chance to enter his lines, 
but the chance never came, and, on the _°7th, we vere 
relieved by the 4th Battalion, and returned to Souastre. 
That evening the Boche retired, and the 4th Battalion 
entered Gommecourt. At this point we lost Captain 
J. .V. Tomson, who had been far fro.m well for some 


time, and now went to Egland with fever. He had 
never missed a day's work for two years. Lieut. D. 
B. Petch took lais place in command of " A " Company. 
The German withdrawal was very slov, and we 
spent the next day having baths in Souastre. On the 
1st March we moved into the new front line, round 
the East edge of G,mmecourt, while the Boche was 
still lmlding Pigeon \Vood. The enemy was very 
alert, as General H. RI. Campbell, the C.R.A., dis- 
covered ; he went into the wood, thinking- it unoccupied, 
and was chased out by a fat Boche thmwing " potato 
mashers." In the evening the Hcadquarters moved 
in,o a German dug-out, but the enemy still occupied 
the " Z." The fronl line between there and Gomme- 
court was filled with decp dug-outs, ail connected 
underground, so the Boche occupied one end, while 
2nd Lieuts. Banwe.ll and Barrett sat in the ocher, of 
the saine tunnel. There were many booby traps, such 
as loose boards exploding a bomb when trodden on; 
trip wires at the bottom of dug-out steps bringing 
down the roof, and o.ther such infernal machines. Ve 
were warned of these, and had no casualties. 
On the 2nd March we continued to press the enemy, 
having as our objective a circle 900 yards round 
Gommecourt Cburch. 2nd Lieut. Corah was slightly 
wounded by a sniper, and or tvo men were hit with 
splinters o.f bomb, but there were no serious casualties. 
Out bombing parties were very vigorous, and in one 
case c.o«asumed the hot coffee and oni,3.ns left by a party 
disturbed at breakfas,t. In this bombing work, 
Serjeants A. l', Cave and Meakin, Cpl. 
Marshall, and L/Cpls. Dawes and A. Carr all dis- 
tlnguished themselves. Gommecourt wood was soon 


cleared, and bv the evening we had gained the x»hole 
of the circular objective. The next morning early the 
8th Sherwood Foresters came up to relieve us, but, 
though the other Companies were relieved, " A " Com- 
pany (Petch) refused to be. They were busv chasing 
the Boche, and were quite annoyed when told that thev 
must corne awav. Relieved, we marched back to 
We staved at Souastre until the llth March, and 
then moved up once more to the line, taking over 2,600 
vards of fro.ntage from the la Bravelle Road to the 
Hannescamps-Monchy Road. Out rime in reserve had 
been spent almost entirelv in lectures on the attack, 
aud on lessons drawn from the enemv's recent with- 
drawal from Gommecourt, and we had more than once 
been congratulated on out patrol work, which was 
excellent throughout this time. Between Essarts and 
Monchv the Boche was still holding his original line, 
and though expected 1o, retire at anv rime, he ruade 
no movement during the three davs we staved in the 
line. On the lath we were ordered, during the after- 
noon, to make certain that the enemv were still present, 
so nd Lieut. T. H. Ball marched up the Essarts Road 
with two platoons, until tire was opened on them from 
more than o,ne direction, and the strength o,f the enemy 
was apparent. That evening we were relieved bv the 
Lothian and Border Horse, and marched on relief to 
Foncquevillers. The same night, just before midnight, 
the Staffordshires made an attack on Bucquoy Graben, 
a B.oche trench, and the outskirts of Bucquoy 
village. It was verv wet and dark, and the operation 
altogether most ditcult, so that the Staffordshlres, 
though they made a verv gallant attack, lost heavily 
and galned little ground. 


At dawn the following morning, 14th Match, we were 
ordered to be readv to go and support the Stafford- 
shires, but, after onsidcrable uncertainty and waiting, 
this order vas cancclled. Instead, a flagged plan of 
the Bucquoy trenches was ruade on the plain N.'V. 
of our village, and hcre we practised the attack. The 
weather was bad, but we managed to make all the 
necessarv arrangements and do some attack drill. In 
the village we had a singular s,troke of ill luck. One 
solitary German Howitzer shell dropped amonKst a 
party of ' D " Company, killing Pte. J. T. Allen, who 
had donc good work in the bombinKat Gommecourt, 
and wounding six othcrs, onc of whom, ,V. Clarke, 
died of wounds aftcrwards. The practised attack, 
which should bave taken place from Biez "Vod on the 
16th, never came off, for it xvas ruade unnecessarv bv 
the rapidity of the German rctirement. 
After this the weather irnproved, and it was bright 
and warm when, on the 17th, we moved during the 
afternoon into Gommecourt and came temporarily 
under orders of the 139th Brigade. The following day 
we moved again, this rime to dug-outs and fields 500 
yards North of Essarts, country which the enemy had 
now entirely evacuated. The villages and farms had 
ail been very badlv battered bv out Artillery, and the 
Boche had round time t.o destroy almost every'thing 
belote he went, except at Douchy-, where there was 
some go0d dug-out tituber. Needless to sa_v, the 
famous Marv of that village was hot to be round. The 
French were immenselv pleased at regaining part of 
their lost territory, though it was a pathetic sight to 
see some of the old people coming to look at the plies 
of bricks which had once been their bornes. Two ladies 


came to Gommecourt with a key, Iittle thinking that so 
far from finding a lock they would find not even a door 
or doo.r-way--there was not even a brick walI more 
than two feet high. Those officers who could get 
horses rode round to look at the country which for 
nine months we had been watching through telescopes, 
and thê concrete emplacements of Monchy and le 
Quesn,oy Farm wcre ail explored, while No Man's 
Land, the onlv place free from wire and shelI holes, 
provided an excellent canter. The Companies were 
largely employcd in road mending, filling up German 
mine craters, and making tracks across the trenches 
for our ArtilIery. The enemy seemed to bê realIy on 
the move a.t Iast, and we were ail Iooking forward to 
seeing s.ome new country, but on the 20th the weather 
broke, there was another falI of snoxv, and we were 
hot sorry to be ordered back to Souastre, where we 
went into the huts for two nights. 
For the rest of March we were constantly on the 
rnove, mostlv by march route. First, on the 22nd, we 
rnarched via Co.uin and Bus-les-Artois to Bertrancourt, 
where we round some huts and much mud. One very 
large " Nissen " hut provided an Officers' Mess, but 
was completely devoid of alI furniture until the Colonel 
invented some wonderful hanging tables--table tops 
hung frm the ceiling on telephone wires. Here we 
were ioined by 2nd Lieuts. C. C. Craggs, S. R. Mec, 
and B. G. Bligh, alI new-comers. 2nd Lieuts. R. C. 
Broughton and A. Ramsden had ioined a week or two 
before, so we now had our fulI complement of Platoon 
Comman.ders. Soon afterwards, however, 2nd Lieut. 
and A/Adjt. C. H. Morris went to the Indian Army, 
and his place was taken by Lieut. L. H. Pearson. In 


Bertrancourt we found some German prisoners work- 
ing, one of whom obviously received the la,test news 
from Lond,o.n quicker than we did, for he told us that 
as the result of an air raid " London was in bits "'! 
After one night here we marched via Acheux, Leal- 
villers and Arquèves to Raincheval, where we again 
staved one night--a hard frost. The next dav we 
moved on again, passing through |'uchevillers, 
Rubempr and Pierregot to Rainnevillers. The match 
vas ruade particularly uncomfortable by the number 
of different Units on the road, marching in ail direc- 
tions, and we had to keep big intervals between 
Rainnevillers was only six kilometres from Amiens, 
and many officers availed themselves of this opportunity 
of the tovn. The mvsteries of Charlie's Bar, 
Godbert's, the Café du Cathédral, and other haunts were 
revealed for the first time, and proved so attractive that 
two senior oflicers ruade a very vet night the excuse 
for staying in a Hotel. They returned at dawn, but 
did not remise l-tow earlv the Colonel rose, and met him 
at the breakfast table, to be congratulated on their 
(most unusual) earliness! We stayed here two days, 
and the G.O.C. came and presented medal ribbons to 
those u ho had been awarded decorations at Gomme- 
court. On the 26th March we " embussed " with the 
4th Leicestershires, and vere taken through Amiens 
to Dur)', whence we marched a sh.e,rt distance to St. 
Fuscien, and went into billets. We were still near 
enough to Amiens for those who wished to " joy ride " 
into the ton. 
Two days later, on the 28th March, ve marched to 
Saleux and entrained for the North. Passing through 


Doullens we arrived at Lillers earlv the next morning, 
and marched thence to Laires, twelve mlles through the 
driving tain. \Ve reached billets ail wet through. 
"B " Company followed by a later train, and joined 
us in billets just after midnight. 
\Ve were nmv in the 2nd Corps, and, before xve had 
time to look round our new billets, the Corps Com- 
mander, General Jacob, came and was imroduced to ail 
oXcers, speaking to tlS in the village school room. 
After tbat we looked round our new quarters and found 
them excellent, s.o, settled down to have, if possible, 
an enjo.vable rest. Marie, of the " Cheval Blanc," 
provided a room where officers might meet and drink 
beer, subalterns, of course, champagne, and her name 
must be added to the long list of Tina's, Bertha's, and 
others who ail over France welcomed the British officer 
so cordiallv at tbeir estaminets, llealm'hile, we spent 
out davs training, and particular attention xvas paid to 
route marching, in whicb we were severely handicapped 
bv the bad state of our boots. For some reason there 
was at the rime a shortage of lea, ther, so Serjeant 
Hnddleston, <)'ur shoemaker, c.ould do nothing to 
improve matters, and we had to make the best of a 
bad job. It vas reallv remarkable on some of the 
longer marches how few men fell out considering that 
manv bad practically no soles to their bo0,ts. However, 
the pleasant billets at Laite amply repaid us for out 
other troubles, and we vere ail sor W xhen on the 13th 
April, 2nd Lieut. Brooke and the rest of us bade fare- 
well to Marie and marched to blanqueville. 
Here we continued training so far as the weather 
a.llowed, but a considerable amcmn.t of tain rather 
hampered us. On the 15th we lost Colonel Jones who 


went to England for three months' rest. the 
exception of a fev weeks in 1915 he had been with us the beginning, and there vas,noE an officer or man 
wbo did not regret his going. There was never a 
trench or post which he did not visit, no matter how 
exposed o.r how dangerous the approach to it. More- 
over, he was never do,wnhearted, and while he was in 
it, the Battalion Headquarters of the 5th Leicestershire 
Reiment was known throughout the Division as one of 
the mo,st cheerful, if not the cheerful, spo.t in 
France. Major Griffiths took tempo,rary command 
until, on the 23rd, Major Trimble, M.C., of the E. 
Yorks. Regt. arrived from the 6th Division and took 
over from him. 



16th April, 1917. 10t,h June, 1917. 
ON the 16th of April we learnt that we were once more 
to go to trenches, and the saine day we moved to 
Annezin, just outside Béthune. The march will always 
be remembered on account of the tremendous energy 
displa.ved bv Captain Shields, who was acting second 
in command. Just before the start he insisted o,n the 
reduction of all ofiïcers' kits to their authorised weight, 
thereb.v causing much cons.ternation amongst those 
wh.ose trench kits included gra, mophones, field boots, 
and other such articles of modern warfare. However, 
on arrival at Annezln ail such worries were dispersed by 
the radiant smiles of the ladies at the C.O.'s billet, 
with whom ail the Subaltern Ofiïcers, and one or two 
Captains at once fell in love. 
Two days later Major Grifiïths and s, of the 
Company Ofiïcers went to reconno.itre the area round 
Bull), Grenay and the western outskirts of Lens, which 
we were told would be our new area. The capture of 
Vimv bv the Çanadians a few davs before, had ruade 
an advance on Lens more po,ssible than it had ever been 
before, and there were manv who thought that the 
Boche would be compelled to evacuate the town. But 
the Germans had not vet any intention of doing this. 


Thcugh the Vimy heigbts were to them, they still 
held "Hill 70" on the North side, and due \Vest o.f Lens, 
n.ear the Souchez river, Fosse 3 and " Hill 65 " were 
naturallv positions. South of this again, and 
just the o.ther side of the river, was ano,ther small rise, 
on which sto,od an electric generating station, another 
commanding position held by the enemy. Our line ran 
through the bouses of Liévin, the Lens road, 
round tbe Eastern edge of Cité St. Pierre, and through 
Cité St. Edouard to the slopes f " Hill î0." 
The whole neighbo,urhood was covered with coal 
mines. Each had its machine buildings, its slag heap, 
and its ro,xvs of miners' cottages, called " Co,rons," ail 
in perfectly straigbt lines. The mine co.mplete was 
known as a " Cité," and a Cité in the case of a large 
mine, covered a considerable tract of country, and had 
several hundred co.ttages. As the mines increased in 
number or grew in size, these Cités became mo-re and 
more numerous, until when war began tbe country was 
fast becoming one large to,wn. The trenches tan from 
cellar to cellar, through houses, along ro.adsides, were 
very irregular, and mostlv short, unconnected and 
isolated lenths. Streets were the onlv means of com- 
munication, and these eould hot be used except at 
night. \Ve were at a great disadvantage in this area. 
The Boche had but lately occupied the line we were 
now holding; he knew its whereabouts exactly, knexx" 
every corner of it, and onld observe it from his heights 
on both flanks. "Ve on the other ha.nd never quite 
knew where the toche was living, had no observation 
of his front line, and were consequen.tly unable to 
retaliate as effectivelv as xve should bave wished to his 
trench mortars. 

LENS. 181 

On the 1.qth of April Lt. Col. J. B. O. Trimble, M.C., 
arrived and took cornrnand, and the sarne night we 
marched through Béthune and Noeux les Mines to the 
" Double Crassier "-- a long double slag heap near 
Loos-- where we lived for two davs in cellars and 
dug-outs, in Brigade Reselwe. The dav after we 
arrived an atternpt was rnade bv the [)ivision on out 
left to capture " Hill 70." It failed, and during the 
enernv's retaliatory bombardrnent out positions ere 
heavilv shelled, and rive men wounded. T]-le next night 
we rn,oved back to Maroc and Bullv Grenay, where we 
staved until the 23rd, whcn we relieved the 4th 
Battalion in the front line. 
Our new sector was one of the worst we ever heId. 
The front line, "A " Company (Petch), consisted of 
"' Cooper Trench "--an exposed salient in front of Cité 
St. Pierre, overl.ooked and shelled frorn everv direction 
and absolutelv unapproacbable during daylight, except 
for those who were willing to crawl. " B " and " C " 
Cornpanies (\Vynne and Mo.ore)were behind in cellars, 
and " I)" (Shields) and Battalion Headquarters still 
further back in the Cité. On the left could be seen the 
low slag heap and railwav line of St. Pierre coal mine, 
held by out 1st Battalion, under which the 6th Division 
a few davs previously had lost an entire platoon buried 
in a collapsed duE-out. 
The tour lasted six da_vs, and at the end o.f the second 
"' D " Company relieved " A " in Cooper trench. It 
was originally intended to relieve "D " in the sarne 
xvav two nights later, but this was impossible, because 
we had to take over a new sector of line on the right, 
where "B " Cornpany now relieved the 4th Lincoln- 
shires, astride the Cté St. Edouard road. The new 


sector as hot so exposed to. viev, and consequently to 
shelling as Cooper trench, but had other disadvantages, 
chier among which was its peculiar shape. A sharp 
pointed salient tan out along the Cité St. Edouard road, 
while S,outh of this the line bent back to the right until 
it reached the outskirts of St. Pierre. 
The shelling was very hot throughout the tour, and, 
at night particularly, there was plenty of machine-gun 
tire up the streets, which ruade ration carrying a 
dangerous job. " I)" Company suffered most in 
casualties, nearlv ail of which were caused by shell tire 
on Cooper Trench, where they were unlucky in losing, 
in addition to some twenty others, Serjeants \Villiams, 
Queenb.orough and G.oode, ail of were vounded. 
The other Companies had some ten casualties between 
Ail this time the enemy were incllned to be nervous 
after out attack on " Hill 70," and almost every day 
the eolumns of smoke in Lens showed us where he xvas 
burning houses and stores in case he should be forced 
to retire. His Infantry remained comparatively inactive 
in the front line, and when one night '2nd Lieut. Banwell 
and his platoon of "C " Company raided Cité St. 
Edouard Church thev round n,o enemv there. 
One hum.orous episode is handed down concerning 
this otherwise rather grim tour. Battalion Head- 
quarters lived in a ver 3" small cellar--mess and office 
belmv, clerks and signallers and rurners on the stairs. 
The Boche, the previous occupants, had left a 
suspicious 1.ooking red and black object on one end of 
the table which we used for meals and xvork. This 
took up a large part of out very scanty room, so an 
R.E. Specialist was called in to examine it. He 

LENS. 183 

examined the object, at once condemned the cellar as 
dangerous, and advised our immediate departure. 
Cellars were hard to find, we ecmsulted another 
specialist. His actions are best described in the words 
of one of those present: " He (R.E.) clears dug-out, 
or rather dug-out clears itself, and ties string gingerly 
to object; the string he leads upstairs and along a 
trench to what he considers is a safe distance. \Vhen 
ail is readv the string is pulled. Ncthing happens. 
Suspense--a l,ong pause--two hours--several drinks-- 
R.E. proceeds to examine result lying on floor--an 
improvised lantern used for photography 
On the 29th, after a big gas bombardment against 
the enemv's positions in Cité St. Edonard and St. 
Theodore, we were relieved bv the 4th Battalion, and 
went into the St. Pierre cellars--in Brigade support. 
The whole place was under direct observation, and 
movement by dav was impossible, hich made our 
existence verv nnpleasant. It was while here that we 
began to realize what a magnificent man was Padre 
Buck. Nothing worried him, and even Cooper trench 
formed part of his parish, to be visited each night. In 
St. Pierre he held a service everv evening in one of 
the cellars, undeterred although on one occasion a shell 
burst in the doorway, scattering its bits inside, but 
doing no damage. 
On the 3rd o.f May we again relieved the tth Battalio.n 
and stayed for three days in the Co,oper trench sector. 
'Ve had a quieter time than bef.crre, and onlv lost one 
killed and nine wounded during the tour. Amongst 
the latter were L/Cl. \Vaterfield and " Pat " Collins 
the runner, who were both hit bv a shell, which burst 
on the orderlv room. Our chief difficultv was the xvater 


supply. ,Vith the hot weather the demand for water 
increased, and it ail had tobe brought to the line in 
petrol cans. F,o, rtunatcl.v the limbers could corne as 
far as Bttali,oa Headquarters, and cans had to be 
carried forward from there onlv; even this took many 
men, and out numbers vere by no means large. 
At the end of this tour, the Brigade went into 
Divisional reserve, and we, relieved bv the Sherwood 
F.oresters, vent back to Fosse 10, near Petit Sains. 
Here we staved for six days training, playing gaines, 
and, bv way of work, wiring a new line of defence. 
l)uring this time we lost several officers. Capt. 
\Vollaston and Lieut. H. E. Chapman went to 
Hospital, Lieut. Petch, 2nd Lieuts Clav and Bligh had 
already gone, and 2nd Lieut. Hepworth left a few days 
later to join the Indi, an Armv. Captain Shields went 
on leave and "D " Gompany was commanded by 
Captain John Burnett, who, on his return from England, 
had been sent to the 4th Battalion, but so.on worked his 
wav back to us. 
It was nmv out turn to go to the right Brigade sector, 
previously held bv the Staffordshires, and on the 12th 
May we marched up to Red Mill, between Angres and 
Liévin. It was a disastrous match, for we were 
heavilv shelled, and lost L/Cpl. Startin and l'te. Norton 
killed, and three L/Cpls., Ellis, Ric, ha-rdso.n and Roper, 
wounded--four of these were " No. 1 " Lewis Gunners. 
Once at Red Mill all was well, and for the next two 
davs we had an enjoyable time. The Mill proved to be 
a large red-brick Chateau, now sadlv knocked about, 
on the banks of the Souchez river. The weather was 
bright and warm, so a data was built, and we soon had 
an excellent bathing pool, much patronized bv all ranks. 

LENS. 185 

2nd Lieut. J. C. Barrett was the star performer, and 
never left the water, so that those who laad nothing 
better to do used to " go and sec the Signailing Officer 
swim "--it was one o,f the recognised recreations of the 
At night we provided carç'ing and wiring parties, 
ail of which had to go through Liévin, a bad place for 
shells. The Church stood at a particularly hot corner, 
and here, on the l lth, 2nd Lieut. T. P. Creed, M.C., 
xvas wounded in the head and foot and had to be sent 
to England, a great loss to " 1) " Company. Vv'e had 
two killed and nine wounded about the same time, and 
lost amo'ngst the wounded one of out old soldiers, 
O'Shaugnessy, the boxer. 
On the 15th Mav we relieved out 4th Battalion in the 
right sub-sector, staying there for ten cays, with a three 
davs' holidav at Red Mill in the middle. \Ve were 
very weak, and out strength in trenches vas barelv 450, 
for in addition to casualties we had to send manv away 
on leave or to courses. Out new sector lav between 
the Soucbez river and the Lens-Liévin road, while 
across the river vere the Canadians. Opposite them 
and out right flank, was the ridge with the generating 
station, opposite out centre Fosse 3 and " Hill 65." 
Fosse 3 a large group of mine buildings standing 
on a slag heap, which ran Southwards from " Hill 
65," ending above tbe river with a thirty foot slope. 
The Western face vas the saine height, and at its foot 
on out side was a large lake. The Corons vere on 
the slopes of the Hill and round its base on the Western 
side. at the bottom we held, but the enemv had 
those on the slopes, and one building in particular, the 
" L-shaped house," was verv stongly fortified. The 


right Compan.v had its outposts in the cellars and shell- 
holes round the N. and "V. edges of the 1.ake, the centre 
and left companies had cellars and trenches, through 
the Cités de Riaumon.t and du Bois de Liévin, down to 
the main Lens road. Left Company Headquarters had 
a beautiful chateau, with a fruit and asparagus garden, 
krrcwn after its first occupant as " John Burnett's 
Chateau." There xvere two communication trenches, 
one each side of the Riaumont Hill : " Assign " on the 
South, shallow and unsafe in daylight, and " Absalom " 
on the North. " Hill 65 " dominated everything, and 
gave the Boche a tremendous advantage. ,Ve had the 
Riaumo.nt hill, 500 vards \Vest of out front line, and 
could use the Bois de Riaumont on its summit as an 
O.P., but this was always being shelJed, and though 
the view was excellent, one was seldom left in peace 
long enough to enjoy it. Battalion Headquarters had a 
strong German concrete dug-out in Liévin, said to have 
been f.ormerlv occupied by Prince Ruprecht of Bavaria. 
The enemy confined his to his artillery, which 
hammered out back areas, and his trench mortars, 
which constantly bombarded our outposts. A row of 
h.ouses along an abso.lutely straight street forms a com- 
paratively easv target, and a cellar is no protection 
against a 2401bs. Minemverfer shell. On one occasion 
,the enemy, starting atone end, dropped a shell on 
every house in turn down one side, smashing each 
cellar; it was a nerve-racking performance for those 
who lived in one of the cellars and had to watch the 
shells coming nearer, knowing that to go into the street 
meant instant death at the hands of sme sniper. The 
headquarters of No. 15 Platoon had a direct hit, but 
fortunatelv nd Lieuts. Brooke and Ramsden were 

LENS. 187 

botb out crawling about somewhere, and the only 
damage was to their dinner. Everv m.ortar, whose 
position was known, was given a naine and marked on 
. a map, so as to simplify quick retaliation. Captain 
Burnett spent much time at the telephone demanding 
the slaughter of " Bear," " Bat," " Pharoah," 
" Philis," " Philistine, .... Moses," " Aaron," etc. etc. 
It was impossible to visit any of the outpost line by 
day, and those from Battalion Headquarters who 
v«anted to do so had perforce 10 go at night. Nights 
were dark; the ground was covered with she11-holes, 
some of them of great size. Once Maior Griffiths, 
going out with Grogan, his runner, suddenly dis- 
appeared from view in an erormous hole which had 
apparently amalgamated itself wi¢ah some well or sewer. 
The Major xvas almost drowned, but came to the 
surface in time to hear Grogan sav: " You haven't 
fallen in, bave you, sir?" He was fished out and 
scraped down and went on his way to " Jehn Burnett's 
Chateau," where he was given warmth and comfort, 
and whence he eventually returned to Liévinmtaking 
care to rob the asparagus bed before leavlng. 
Towards the end of the tour the enemy attempted a 
small raid against out somewhat isolated right post, 
but was easily driven off by out Lewis guns, and ruade 
no other attempts. On the 25th of May the Sherwood 
Foresters took out place, and we marched out to 
Marqueffles Farm. The tour had oest us twentv-four 
casualties, three of whom were killed; we had some 
narrow escapes in the cellars, and were fortunate hot 
to 10,se more. " D " Company had had a partic-ularly 
bad time, and owe much to Serieant Burbidge, who 
seemed in his element in the midst of terrific explosions 


and rocking cellars, and saved many casualties bv his 
Marqueffies Farm stands next to lIarqueffies oo,al 
mine, at the foot of the Northern slopes o¢ the Lorette 
ridge. The Companies were all billeted in the farm, 
and the officers in tents outside, while a home-ruade 
marquee formed an excellent mess. After out first 
difficulty, which was to find the place at all in the utter 
darkness of relief night, we spent a ver 3" happ_v twelve 
davs in beautiful weather. After coal mines and 
squalid narroxv streets, the xx:oods of Lorette, the little 
village of Bouvigny, and the open country xvere delight- 
ful, for the scenerv to the south was all verv pleasing. 
Gaines of ail descriptions were out programme for the 
first two days, while our chier amusement was to watch 
the enemv's attempts to hit the observation balloon 
above us. His shells, fitted with clockwork fuzes, 
burst verv high, and were quite harmless. 
But out star in Marqueffles was hOt merelv a rest, 
we xvere there to practice for an attack to be ruade 
sortlv on Fosse 3. A plan of the Fosse and its 
trenches was marked out, and each dax" the assaulting 
Companies, " B " and " C," practiced their attack over 
it, until each man knew his task exactlv. In addition 
to this "C" Company were able to scale the Marquefiïes 
slag-heap, and so prepare themselves for Fosse 3, 
whose :30 feet they would have to climb in the battle. 
{;eneral Kemp had had to go to Hospital xvith a 
poisoned foot and Colonel Thorpe, the Divisional Staff 
Officer, who to)k his place, came often to watch out 
practice, making on the last occasion a ver 5- encoura- 
ging, if somewhat bloodthirsty speech. Through it ail 
we enjoyed .ourselves immenselv. For a change 

LENS. 189 

canteen stores were plentiful, and a generous supply of 
cigarettes, beer, and other luxuries, did much to raise 
out spirits. The oFficers, too, had many pleasant 
evenings, and, on more than one occasion, the night 
was disturbed by the old familiar strains of " Co,me 
Landlord fill tbe flowing Bowl," " John Peel," and 
other classical ditties. 
On the 6th of June we moved up to Liévin and took 
over tbe line from tbe 5th Sherwood Foresters. For 
the first rime the oflqcers were clothed exactly as the 
men. " 1)" Co. (Burnett) was in front, "A " Co. 
{Brought.on) in support, and " B " and " C " {¥Vynne 
and Moore) in the row of bouses just west of Riaumont 
Hill. Tbese bad bardlv settled down belote a shell 
burst in tbe doorway of "C " Company Headquarters 
killing Serjeant Harper, the Lewis Gun N.C.O., and 
wounding six o.tbers, amongst them ano.ther Gunner, 
L/Cpl. Morris. At the saine rime 2nd Lieut. A. L. 
Macbeth had to go to Hospital with lever; Capt. \Vynne 
was also far from well, but refused to leave his 
Company on the eve of tbe attack. 
The final preparations were ruade on the night of the 
7th/Sth, wben two parties went out to eut wire, 2nd 
Lieut. Banwell and -°nd Lieut. C. S. Allen. The first 
part 3 , found some thick wire, placed tbeir ammonal 
tubes and successfullv blev several gaps. The others, 
under 2nd Lieut. Allen, found no uncut xx'ire, so brought 
their tubes back. Everything was readv bv dawn on 
th.e 8th, and Zero was ordered for 8-30 p.m. the saine 
For several days the Monmouthshires had been at 
work deepening " Assign " trench, and had done much, 
but it was still shal[ow, and there is rm doubt that as 


LENS. 191 

" B " and " C " Companies came up it betxveen 5.0 and 
6.0 p.m., they were seen from the top of " Hill 6t5." 
For as "B " Company passed the group of cottages 
South of Riaumont Hill, the Boche opened a heavy tire 
on the trench and dr, opped a shell right amongst the 
Company Headquarters. Capt. Wynne was untouched, 
but his Serjeant-Major,, and his runner, Ghent, 
both first-class soldiers, xvere killed by his side. 
Assembly was complote by 6.0 p.m. and " B," 
"C," xvith "D" Co. in close support, waited for 
Zero in some short lengths of trench, dug amongst the 
houses at the East end of " Assign " trench. " A " 
Co., who were to carry ammunition and stores for the 
attackers, formed up near Battalion Headquarters, in 
the group of bouses half way up the trench. Capt. 
,Vynne, though worn out with fever, and hardly able 
to stand, still stuck to his Company. 
At 8.30 p.m. the barrage opened, and the attack 
s.tarted. Almost the first shell exploded some ammuni- 
tion dump on the far side of the slag heap, and the 
whle battle was lit up by the giganti.c tire which 
foll.owed. Against the red glow the black figures of 
"C " Company could be seen swarming up the slag- 
heap, clearing the two trenches, " Boot " and " Brick," 
on its summit, and sweeping on to clean out the dug- 
outs beyond. There were many Germans on and 
around the heap, and in a short time between 80 and 
100 were killed, nearlv all with the bayonet. Serjeant 
Needham stormed a trench mortar emplacement, him- 
self acc,ounting for,most of the crew. Serjeant Roberts, 
formerly of the Transport, and with his Company for 
the first rime, was much annoyed to find a bay<)net 
through lais arm, but did hOt stop until he had dealt 


with its owner and any of his friends he could find. 
Pte. Tookey and many others sh,owed splendid dash, 
b,ombing dug-outs, bayonetting stray Huns, and 
ccasionally taking a priso.ner or tvo. But the central 
figure of the fight vas 2nd Lieut. Banwell. Armed xvith 
a rifle and bayonet he simply tan amock and 
slaughtered some eight of the enemv bv himself, while 
their leader he tan to the edge o.f the slag-heap and 
kicked over the side ino the lake, vhere he broke his 
neck and was drowned. Altogether this Company took 
eight prisoners and destroyed three machine guns and 
two trench mortars. 
Meanwhile the attack on the left had failed. At 
Zero Captain XVynne led "B " Company from their 
trenches and advanced towards the " L-shaped " build- 
ing. They had hardly started befo,re their ranks xvere 
swept from end to end with machine gun tire from the 
bouses to their left and front. Capt. \¥vnne and 2nd 
Lieut. R. B. Farrer were killed, 2nd Lieut. \V. I. 
Nelson was xvounded, and the company had no officers 
left. Still, under the N.C.O.'s, they tried to push 
forward, only to meet with mo,re losses. They xvere 
compelled to stop, and, under Serjeant Martin, the 
senior N.C.O. left, began to dig a line a fexv yards east 
of their starting trench. Serjeant Passmore, xvho xvas 
acting Serjt.-Major, Serjts. Kemp, Thorpe and Hibbert 
were ail wo.unded, L/Cpl. Aris and nine others killed, 
and lo,re than half the Co.mpany xvounded. For some 
time Battalion Headquarters knev no.thing of this 
disaster, and it was only xvhen the Signaller L/Cpl. 
W.oolley came back to report, that Col. Trimble heard 
• vhat had happened. He at once ordered " D " Com- 
pany to fill the gap, so as to ptîotect the left flank of 

LENS. 193 

"C " Company, which he knexv must be seriously 
" A " Ciompans, carrying ammunition, had also 
had their casualties, and -°nd Lieut. Broughton, 
af ter being lait more than once, eventually had 
to lcave them. He had been personally organizing 
most of the parties, and during the battle was every- 
where, quite regardless of danger. Consequently, 
when he went, " A " Company became scattered; 
parties which had delivered their ammunition did hot 
know where to go; and some of them, a few undcr 
Serjeant Putt and Pte. Dakin, wandered into the slag- 
heap and took part in the battle, helping to kill some of 
the Boche there. " D " Company lost two killed and 
ten wounded, for their position, joining the two flanks, 
was exposed to a considerable amount of enfilade tire. 
As soon as they had cleared the summit of the slag- 
heap " C " Company s.tarted to consolidate " Boo,t " 
and " Brick " trenches, while the most foi-ward of the 
attackers formed a protective screen. Their position 
was precarious. Thcy were exposed to heavv tire from 
the generating station and " Hill 65," while unable to 
keep a watch on the low ground off the Souchez river 
vallev or East of the slag-heap, where numbers of 
Boche could assemble unseen. The " L-shaped " 
building, toc>, was a thorn in their left flank. Still thev 
zvere well established, when Co.l. Thorpe and Captain 
XVade, the Brigade Major, came round the line and 
loeked at our new positions. They left the slag-heap 
just before dawn, and a few minutes later, when thev 
were talking to Capt. Moore in his headquarters in the 
cottages below, a runner came in to announce a biff 
B.oche counter-attack. It was still too dark to see 


much, but our sentries oo.uld make out large numbers o.f 
men closing in on them from three sides, and tire wa 
opened. The Boche dropped into shell holes, but 
continued his advance steadily, making use of ail 
available cover. "C " Company, finding their rifles 
useless and very sh.ort of ammun.iti.on,  aited until thev 
came near enough to start bombing, and then gave- 
them a volley of Mills grenades. But once again we were 
ruined bv the ineflïciency of those in rear; the bombs 
had no detonators. In a few minutes the Company 
would have been completely surrounded, so slowly and 
in good order they withdrew, first to the edge of the 
heap, and then down to the oottages at the bottom. 
One group of men stayed for an incredibly l'ong time on 
a ledge partway down the face, but in the end they too- 
had to corne awav. During the night the Company 
lost one killed and twenty-eight wounded, rive of whom 
staved at dutv; two others were badlv wounded during 
the counter-attack, were subsequently captured, and 
died as prisoners in German_v--Privates A. Beck and 
R. Collins. At the rime, the withdrawal from the slag- 
hcap seemed like a defeat, but, had we stayed, out 
casualties would have been far worse and the result the 
saine; for with daylight, nothing could have lived on 
the heap, so long as the Generating Station and " Hill 
(;5 " remained in German hands. 
The ni'ht after the battle we were relieved bv the 
5th Lincolnshires and marched out to Red Mill again for 
a few davs' res.t. V'e were congratulated by the 
General on the fight, and Captain Moore and "C " 
Company came in for special praise for their work with 
the bavonet. Capt. \Vvnne and -'2nd Lieut. Farrer 
were buried in Bullv Grena.v, and Lieut. N. C. 

LENS. 195 

Marriott ok over "B " Company. For the last 
twenty four ho,urs it had been commanded by Lieut. 
Petch, who returned from Hospital i.n the middle of 
the battle. He now went to "A " Company again, 
and was promoted Captain. Lieut. Marriott got his 
Captaincy a few weeks later. Capt. Shields returned 
fom leave and took command o,f "D " again, xvhile 
Capt. Burnett went to Headquarters. 


HILL 65. 

13th June, 1917. ,th :Iuly, 1917 
THoSE who had hoped for a rcst aftcr the battle were 
disappointed, for, on the 13th of June, we once more 
went into the line oppositc Fosse 3. The enemy 
seemed to bave rec,overed from out attack on the 8th, 
and we spent a quiet rive da.vs, gaining no ground and 
suffering practically" no casualties. Towards the end 
of the tour the Canadians gained a footing on the 
Southern corner of the slag-heap and established a post 
there, and at the saine rime took the whole of the 
Generating Station and the high ground round it. It 
seemed improbable that the Boche could hold Boot and 
Brick trenches much longer, so the General brought the 
5th' Lincolnshires into the line on the evening of the 
18tb to make a new attack on Fosse 3. This attack 
was to take the form of a large raid. 
Leaving "A " Company (Petch) in close support in 
Cité des Garennes we went out to Red Mill while the 
attack took place, and the following da3" , the 19th, the 
Lincolnshires sent us down 2 prisoners to guard. 
Their raid had been a great success, they had cleared 
the slag-heap and the machine buildings and killed 
manv Boche as well as taken prisoners. As a result 
of this the Lincolnshires were able to move into Boctt 

HILL GS. 197 

and Brick for their outpost line, and here on the "20th 
we relieved them. Twice during tbe relief the S.O.S. 
Signal was fired bv out posts in the front line on accourir 
of suspected counter-attacks, but out artillerv replied 
so promptl. and so efl]cientlv tbat nothing materialized. 
Out second night in the line was disastrous. During 
this fightlng round Lens, any pr.c.gress ruade was the 
result of minor operations, raids and even patrol fights, 
and there was seldom a large sc.ale battlc. It was 
naturallv diltàcult to keep ail units informed of the latest 
progress, and this ditficultv was particularly great in 
ur case, when trying to maintain liaison with tbe 
Canadians. The Souchez river was the boundary 
between the two corps, and made it impossible for us 
to visit their front line troops, l.Ve had therefore to 
relv on Division and Corps headquarters keeping each 
other po.sted as to the latest progress, and on more 
than one occasion this liaison broke down, and we 
suffered very heavilv. 
At dusk on the 21st we reccived a message, and at 
once warned ail ranks, that the Special Brigade R.E. 
were going to carrv out a gas bombardment of the mine 
buildings o.f Fosse 3. Proiectors would be fired bv 
a Company operating" with the Canadian Corps, from 
whose front the buildings could be best attacked. The 
wind was satisfactory, and the buildings were at least 
150 yards awav from out nearest trenches, so there 
seemed no need of anv special precautions. "C " 
Cc,mpany, occup.ving Boot and Brick trenches, heard 
the familiar explosion as the projectors went off, and 
waited to bear them rail in the buildings. Instead, 
thev fell in out trenches, several hundred of them; in 
a few seconds, and belote anv warning could be 


shouted, the trenches were full of phosgene, the 
deadliest of ail gasses. Officers and men worked hard 
to rouse those resting, and, in particular, nd Lieut. 
Banwell taking no heed for his own safet_v, went everv- 
where, rousing, rescuing and helping the badly gassed. 
But it was to.o late, and all through the night and next 
morning casualties were being carried out to Liévin and 
clown the line. nd Lieuts. Craggs and Macbeth both 
went to England, and, almost the last to leave the slag- 
heap, nd Lieut. Banwell. His great strength had 
enabled him to survive longer than the others, but no 
constitution could stand ail that phosgene, and during 
the morning he suddenlv fainted, and had to be carried 
clown. Bv the time he reached Liévin he was almost 
dead, and the Doctors held out no hope of his recoverv. 
However, fed on ox.vgen and champagne he lasted a 
week, and then, to evervbodv's surprise, began to 
recover. The greatest surprise of all was when this 
marvellous man refused to go to England, but preferred 
to remain in Hospital in France until fit enough to 
reioin his own Battalion. Vith the excepti,on of Capt. 
Moore, who vas fortunately on leave at the time, " C " 
Company was wiped out and temporarily ceased to exist. 
Twentv-four died from the poison, and in all sixtv-two 
others of the Company went to H,ospital. Most of these 
round their way to England, though one or two, such 
as Serit. Needham and L/Cpl. Tookey, both fighting 
men, preferred to remain and return to us. "D " 
Co.mpany also had their losses, and Serjeant Sullivan 
and nine others were gassed, ten others wounded. The 
rest of the Battalion escaped untouched. 
The following night the 8th Sherwood Foresters came 
into the line, and we went back o Marqueffles Farm. 

HILL 65. 199 

Our losses had been heavy and so far ve had had 
practically no reinforcements, so had to reorganise our 
three remaining Companies xvith three plato.ons each 
instead of four. W'e were also beo,ming short of 
officers, havin K lost eight and only received one 
reinforcement--Lieut. R. J. H. F. .Vatherstone, who 
came to us from England. 
We spent two davs res.ting and cleanin K ourselves, 
and tç'ing to reccver from the effects of the bat(le, 
before startin K on anv more serious work. On the 
Sunday, at Church Parade, General Thwaites came and 
spoke to us, congratulating us once more on the 8th, 
and praising especially" " C" Company for their 
bavonet work. He was very angry indeed about the 
gas disaster and explained the cause. It appeared 
that the Company carr.ving out the operation had never 
been informed of out occupation of the trenches on the 
slag heap, and that, when thev said thev were going to 
bombard the mine buildings, thev meant the whole 
area, including these trenches, which they imagined 
were still held bv the enemv. 
The whole Division was now verv weak, for the 
series of small battles during the past six weeks had 
been expensive. However, the hiher autho,rities 
considered we were still fit for battle and decided to give 
us one more show, before sendin us to some quiet 
trenches to recuperate. The obieetive this tlme was 
" Hill 65," " Adjunct," " Adjacent " and " Advance " 
trenches and the outskirts of the Cité du Moulin--the 
last of the Cités outside Lens itself. Three Battali.ons 
would attack, ourselves on the right, out 4th Battalion 
in the centre, and the 5th S. Staffordshires on the left. 
Practice started at once over a flagged course, and out 


new Brigadier, General F. (;. lI. Rowley, C. 3I.G., of 
the .XIiddlesex Rcgiment, came to watch us at work. 
Out fo.rmation differed slightly from that used in 
previous fights, for we gave grcat pro.minence 1o the 
" lIoppers." Several times latelv the leading waves 
o.f an assault had gone straight to their final objective, 
consolidated, and then found themselves eut off by 
parties o.f thc cnenLv, over wlom thev had passed during 
the advance. Now a line of " moppers " was detailed 
to follow ten vards behind each wave, with orders to 
mop up everything and leave no living Boche anvwhere 
behind the assaulting tro,ops. In o.ur case "D "' 
Cmpany (Shiclds) would mop up, " A " and " B " 
(Petch and 3larriott) would malce the attack, while two 
Companies of the 4th Lincolnshires were detailed to 
assist us with carrying parties. 
\Vhile we were practising this, on the "25th the troops 
in the line marie further pr3gress, s,omewhat lightening 
¢ur tsk, but not nccessitating anv alteration in out 
plans of attack. The battle was ordered for the 28th 
June, and the prcvious evening xxe moved up Assign 
trench to out assemblv positions, Boo.t and Brick 
Trenches on the slag heap. \Ve were to relieve parti3" and partly Monmouths'hires, and for some 
reason or ther there was cCnfusion among the guides. 
Those detailed for "' .-\ " Company wanted to lead them 
to the right instcad of the lcft of the assaulting frontage, 
while " B " Cmpany had " A's " guides. Fortunatelv 
Capt. l'etch was able to catch his plato,ons in time, and, 
dismissing the guides, sent each to its correct position. 
Serjeant Putt, who had started first, he could no.t warn 
in rime, but fortunatelv this N.C.O. knew enough of the 
plans to know that he was beiug led wrngly, and so 

HILL (;5, 201 

retraced lais steps and rejoined the test o{ lais Company 
on the slag-heap. " A " Company were in po.sition bv 
10.0 p.m., but the other companies were seriouslv 
delaved and wandered about most of the night under 
guides, ho took /hem the wrong way. To add to the 
confusion out liaison with the Canadians alain broke 
down, and wi/h,out anv warning the l)ivision on out 
right suddenlv launched an a/tack. Barrages followed 
bv both sides and the noise conti«med througho.ut the 
night. Long af ter the attack was over the noise went 
on, for everv few minutes some post would ,,et nervous 
and send up an S.O.S. signal, immediatelv calling 
down a barrage, to which the o.ther side would reply in 
kind. Ail this took place o the other side of the 
Souehez river, but we came in for much shelling, and 
the relief was no,t finallv complete until 5.0 a.m. At 
dawn we were ail in position. " B " Company 
(.Xlarriott) was on the right with a frontale from the 
Souchez river to the Southern edge of the naine 
buildings ; " . " (Petch) was on the left, with the length 
of the buildings as their frontale; "' I)" [Shields) 
assembled under the slag-heap behind'them. Zero was 
ordered for 7.20 p.m. 
The original plan had been for the assaulting 
Cmpanies to leave their assemblv trenches a few 
minutes before Zero, and, moving forward carefully, to 
form up for the attack a few vards in front. At 7.0 
p.m. it was still, of course, bright daylight ; the enemv 
had two observation balloons up, and there were several 
aeroplanes about. It seemed that anv such movement 
must be no.ticed. However, rate was on out side, 
and at 7.15 p.m. a tain storm burst over the country', 
completely obscuring the view, and bv Zero the assault- 


ing tro,o,ps were lying out ready. They had not been 
At 7-'20 p.m. the rain stopped, the barrage started, 
and we went forward. At the same time real and 
dummy gas attacks were made North of the Liévin- 
Lens road, and the enemv must have wondered very 
much where the main attack would be. The result was 
satisfactorv ; we met n.o real barrage and no verv heavy 
machine gun tire, though there was a considerable 
amount of scattered shooting of both kinds. This did 
not delav our advance, though 2nd Lieut. Dawes was 
wounded and had to leave his Company. Our only 
difficultv was the mine building, through which "A " 
Company" were supposed to advance; this was found to 
be impenetrable, and Captain Petch had to send half his 
Company through " B " Company"s frontage, and half 
through the 4th Leicestershires, so as to avoid it. 
" Adjunct " and " Adjacent " trenches were reached 
practically xithout loss, but the enemv did not stay to 
receive us, and we found them empty. At 7.40 p.m. 
Yates, the "A" Company runner, reached headquarters 
with the neufs of the success of the battle. 
Adjacent trench was organised as out new OUtlO.St 
line and several strong points were built along it. \Ve 
also secured the \Vestern end of " Almanac," a com- 
munication trench running N.E. alongside the railxvay. 
Halfway up this trench a deserted Boche machine gun 
post would have provided tlS with an excellent forward 
post, but unfortunateh" it was i.n our defensive barrage 
line and we were not allowed to occupy it. Ve had, 
therefore, to conten,t ourselves with collecting the sou- 
venirs, which included a telephone, and to awav. 
lATe had several casualties while consolidating, and lost 

HILL 65. 203 

another oflïcer, 2nd Lieut. M. J. S. Dyson, who was 
slightly wounded by a strav shell. "B " Company 
lost Cpl. Baker wounded, and L/Cpl. Snow of "A " 
xvas also hit, in addition to two killed and twenty-five 
others xvounded in the Battalion. The scattered shell- 
ing became somewhat more concentrated after our 
arrival, but did hot stop our consolidation, which went 
forward rapidly with only one pause. About 8.0 p.m. 
there was a terrific rainstorm and everyone stopped 
work to put on waterproof sheets. The enemv must 
have done the saine, and it xvas curious to notice how 
the battle stopped while everybody sheltered, f.«r while 
the tain lasted there was complete silence, and neither 
side fired a shot. 
Our task thc next mo.rning xvas to discover how far 
the Boche had retired. The Canadians South of the 
river had pushed on to the outskirts o.f Cité St. Antoine, 
almost in Lens itself, and, with " Hill t;5 " in our 
hands, the German positions in the Cité du Moulin 
xvere overlooked from everwvhere. Patrols were sent 
forward to investigate, and 2nd Lieut. Brooke, with 
some of "D" Company, pushed forward up "Almanac" 
trench as far as the Arras road. Here thev caught 
sight o.f a Boche patrol, which promptly fled as fast as 
possible. Except for th, is, the dav passed quietly, as 
did the following mo.rning. 
The afternoon of the 30th, however, was far from 
quiet, and for several hours our new line was heavily 
shelled. In addition to the usual field batteries, there 
was one heavv gun which fired continuoush" on " A " 
Company's lines, obtaining a direct hit on Company 
Headquarters. Capt. Petch and 2nd Lieut. Campbell 
were both buried but hot seriouslv hurt. Serit. Ault, 


the acting Serjeant-Major, \Vheeldon and Stevenson, 
the two runners, ail three old soldiers of exceptional 
ability, were killed. Raven, another runner, was 
xvounded, l)owns had alreadv been hit, and was again 
severeh" shaken, but both these stayed at duty, while 
they helped Lillev and Balderstone, wlm pluckily came 
along, to dig out those who were buried, in ail twentv- 
eight were wounded, making our casualties for the 
battle three ottcers and ninetv other ranks. That the 4th Lincolnslaires relieved us, and we went 
into Brigade reserve, txxo Companies in Cité des 
Garenncs, the other in Liévin. 
A fcw hours after relieving tlS the Lincolnshires made 
another attack, but failed to gain much ground, and 
met with considerable opposition fro.m the neighbour- 
hood of the Arras road. Their casualties were 
consequently heavy, alad thev asked to be relieved again 
the following night, so we were ordered to go up once 
more and take over their new line. Guides xxere to 
have met us at the " Broken bridge " near " Adjacent " 
trencb, but onlv those for "A" and "B" Companies 
arrived, and for several hours Captain Shields waited 
with "D " Company, not knowing where to take lais 
men. Apparently there had been some further opera- 
tions, and the Lincolnshires had been shelled, in anv 
case no guides appeared, and it was nearlv dawn. At 
last, Capt. Shields, knowing that in a few minutes he 
would not bave time to reach the front line, even if 
guides did arrive, gave the order to " about turn," 
and marched back. This caused c.nsiderable discus- 
sion at Battalion Headquarters, and Brigade finalh" 
decided that Cl. Trimble should take over the line 
with two companies of the 4th Lincolnshires in front 

HILL |;'. 205 

in the outpost line, two of our Companies in " Acorn " 
and " Adiunct," and one Company of ours undcr the 
slag-heap. \Ve xvere ail well dug in, and consequently 
did not lose verv heavily when the follo«ring da3", the 
2nd o,f July, we xvere shelled continuouslv for severai 
hours. Our lines were almost all eut, so that 
messages had tobe sent bv the runners, xvhose task 
was far from pleasant on these occasions. Throughout 
these two months of lighting in I+ens thc runners, both 
Battalion and Company, had proved thcmsclvcs tobe 
verv line soldicrs. VVe relied on thcm almost entirelv 
in battle, for tclephone wircs nevcr lasted long, and 
pigeons, once released, did not return. But the 
runners never failed, and what is more xvere alwavs 
cheerful. Cheerfuilv thev crawled some exposed 
street, or dodged round houses in the Cité St. Pierre, 
cheerfullv thev faced Assign trench and Liévin corner, 
and equally cheerfullv they cro.ssed the slag-heap, o[ten 
having to go actuallv tbrough a barrage to reach their 
destination. Grogan, Collins, Sullivan, Raven, Kil- 
corne and others, alwavs readv and alwavs willing, they 
would work till thev dropped, and the Battalion oxves 
much to their courage and endurance. 
The 3rd of July passed quietly, and that night we 
were relieved bv the 25th Canadians and marched to 
Aix Noulette, where we embussed and went to Monchv 
Breton for a test. 



Cth ]uly, 1917. 23rd Nov.. 1917. 
",,V stayed for three weeks at Mo.ncby Breton and 
enjoyed ourselves imrnensely, with good weather, good 
billets and plenty of garnes. The Headquarters lived 
and rnessed at lI. le Curé's, where they consurned a 
disgraceful arnount of strawberries and crearn, while 
the other officers under Captain Burnett rnessed 
together in ancther bouse. But the chief feature of 
this period of rest was the Divisional Rifle meeting, a 
regular Bisley meeting, which took place at tbe end of 
it. It was a triurnph for the 5th Leicestershires, for 
we carried off arnongst other trophies the G.O.C. 's Cup. 
R.S.M. Srnall, D.C.M., had one "first" and two 
" seconds," Corporal F. H. J. Spencer, M.M., one 
" first " and one " second," in the individual cornpeti- 
tions, vhile Serit. Clancv and Pte. F. Bindlev von the 
assault course and individual " pools. " On the second 
da)" " A " and " B " Cornpanies each got third place in 
the Company Assault Course and Snap-shooting 
Crnpetitions, and "C " was second in the Cornpany 
" Knock-out " and third in the " running man " corn- 
petitions. In this last Pte. Pepper won third place 
in the pool. Finallv our officers' team won the 
revolver shoot. The rifle shooting throughout both 


davs was of a very high order, but the saine cannot be 
said for the revolver work, and we only won this last 
oempetition by being nt quite so terriblv bad as 
anybody else. 
On the 20th of July we received o.rders to go into 
action again--this time to a quiet sector near Hulluch-- 
and the foll,owing day we moved to Vaudricourt. The 
C.O. and most of the otticers went by motor-'bus 
through to Philoso.phe to reconnoitre the new line; the 
test of the Battalion set out under Captain Burnett to 
match. The previous evening had been spent in 
celebrating out rifle-shooting victories and ve felt like 
anything rather than marching twenty mlles under a 
blazing July sun. Those who took part in it will never 
frget that match; it was worse than " Luron to 
Vv'are " in 1914. Packs seemed heavier than ever 
before, the bill at Houdain was to0 much for many, 
and the beer and white wine of the previous evening 
proved stronger than march discipline, and manv fell 
out. We finally crawled into Vaudrioeurt at :t-0 p.m. 
--tired out. 
The follwing evening our Transport lines and 
Quartermaster's Stores moved to Labourse and we went 
into the line, relieving the 2nd ¥o,rk and Lancaster 
Regiment in the Hulluch right sector. For six davs 
we lived in tunnels, with a front line which consisted of 
odd is.lated posts at the end of each passage. The 
old front line trench seemed to have disappeared 
entirelv. \Ve were hot much w,rried bv the enemy, in 
fact, except for one trench mortar near Hulluch, called 
the " Goose," he kept verv quiet. At the end of the 
tour we were relieved bv the !th Battalic, n and went into 
billets at Noeux les Mines. 


Noeux was hot shelled during our stay, so we had 
a peaceful time, though one officer was somewhat 
troubled on waking the first morning to find attached 
to his house the following notice : " Tins CRoss Ro.',DS 
hot star long, however, for on the 30th July we were 
suddenlv ordcred to move to Fouquières to prepare for 
a coming raid, and marched thcre during the afternoon, 
Battali.on Headquarters to the Çhateau, Companies to 
the village. For some reason best knoan to himself 
the billeting otl]cer had billeted all officers with the 
wron companies, but this was soon rectified, and we 
were verv comfortable. 
Out coming raid was to be carried out against the 
enemv's trenches VCest of Hulluch on a frontaçe of 
300 vards. The sector chosen was bo.unded on the 
North bv Hendon and on the South by Hicks Alley, 
while Herring Aller was in the centre. There were 
three German lines, and on the left a small extra line 
between the first and second, which we named Hincklev 
Trench. The schcme was for two Companies to take 
and hold the German third line, Company to mop 
up behind them, and the fourth Company to follow 
with some Engineers to demolish dug-outs. One of 
the forward Companies would bave to send a special 
party to dcal with the " Goose " trench mortar. All 
wire cutting would be done bv the Artillery, who were 
allowed a fortnight for it, so that they might hot excite 
the enemv too much bv heavv shooting. During this 
rime we were to detail an oflicer to stav in the line, 
watch the sh.ooting, and patrol the gaps at night. We 
would also practise the attack over a flagged course. 
The flagged course was set out very elaborately at 


Hesdigneul, and hot only was each trench shown, but 
small notice boards denoted the position of everv 
supposed machine gun, trench m,ortar, or deep dug-out. 
Practices took place first bv dav and finally by night, 
for the raid was to be a night attack, and various 
lamp signals were arranged to assist the withdrawal. 
The positio.n of Hulluch village was indicated on the 
practice ground bv a la.rge notice board--Ht'cLtT«'t-- 
which probably gave anv spies there might be i,n 
Hesdigneul a very fair idea of what was intended. 
Meanwhile, we received various reinforcements. 
Lieut. G. E Russell returned, lld Lieut. \V. 
Cole came from the Artists' Rifles, nd Lieuts. R. \V. 
Edge, T. R. L. Gibson, R. B. Raws,on, C. P. Shilton, 
R. \V. Sanders, L. \V. Mandy, and J. S. Plumer came 
to us for the first time from England. At the saine 
time a large party of men, arriving at Monchv Breton, 
had enabled us to reconsti.tute "C " Company, so that 
we now had four (3ompanies of three platoons each, 
and enough oflàcers for two Battalions. Lieut. Pearson 
went t,o Hospital and thence to England, and Capt. 
\Vollaston acted Adjutant. The Cmpany Commanders 
were unchaffed. 
For the second xveek of our fortnight we slightly 
relaxed the vigour of our practices, and devoted more 
rime to musketQ', bombing, and training the demolition 
parties for their work. The oflàcers to take part in the 
raid were also chosen, and various tasks allotted to 
the others. Capt. Shields with °nd Lieut. Cole and 
"D" Company would make the right attack; Capt. 
Petch with nd Lieut. Gibson and "A " C;o.mpany, the 
left. "B " Çompany (Cpt. and nd Lieut. 
C S. Allen) would be the supports, and the two 


demolition parties would be found by "C " Company 
under nd Lieuts. Lowe and Edge. 2nd Lieut. Plumer 
was detailed to take a party of "D " Company to 
destmy the " Goose." Lieut. G. E. Russell was 
" O.C. Searchlight," and various other officers were 
chosen to count the raiding party when they returned. 
Meanwhile, up in trenches the most wonderful work 
was being done by 2nd Lieut. Brooke and six other 
ranks of " D " Company--L/Cpl. Clapham, Ptes. 
Haines, Hanford, J.ç:hnson, Ma»on, and Rolls. This 
xvas the party left in the line with the Staffordshires 
to observe the wire cutting and patrol the gaps. At 
first, 2nd Lieut. Brooke spent his days with the 
F.O.O. and confined his patrolling to the hours of 
darkness, but later he was out in front both day and 
night. On two ccasions he came into contact with 
the enemy. First, on his very first patrol, he had 
iust reached the enemy's wire, and was trying to find 
a way through, when the enemy opened a heavy tire at 
close range. L/Cpl. Clapham was killed, shot through 
the head, and it was only with the utmost difiïculty 
that the rest of the party escaped with their lires. 
The second encounter was in daylight. The Stafford- 
shires had reported that they believed the German front 
line to be unoccupied, so on the 13th August, in the 
middle of the afternoon, 2nd Lieut. Brooke crossed 
No Man's Land, passed through the wire and entered 
the Boche front line. I-le was iust exploring it when 
a ver.v surprised German came round a corner and 
saw him. 2nd Lieut. Brooke at once left the trench 
and took shelter as quickly as possible in a shell hole 
outside. A perfect sh.ower of bombs and rifle grenades 
were thrown after him, but he xvas un.touched, and 
regained our lines xvithout a scratch. 

ST. ELlE LEFT. 211 

On the lth August, after a verv happy fortnight at 
Fouquières, we m.o,ved fo the huts at Noyelles, 
where the special stores for the coming raid were 
issued. At the saine time all pay books, badges, 
identity discs and personal kits were handed in, and to 
each man was issued a small round cardboard disc 
with a number o.n it. The foll.owing morning we 
paraded at 10 a.m., and marched through Vermelles 
to Lone Trench and Tenth Avenue, where we were t.o 
wait until it was time to assemble. On the way, " B " 
Company had a serious disaster. A shell, intended fo.r 
one of out batteries Vrest of Vermelles, fell on the 
Company as they were passing the Mansion House 
Dump. They were marching in fours and had prac- 
tically a whole plate,on wiped out, for eleven vere 
killed and fourteen wounded. .,mongst the killed was 
Freddie Chambers, self-appointed Company humorist, 
and one .of the best known and most cheerful soldiers 
in the Battalio.n. 
Our l'atro.1 party was waiting for us in Lone Trench, 
but their report was far from satisfacto.ry. 2nd Lieut. 
Brooke declared that there were bv no means enough 
g'aps, in fact none at ail on the left, and Colonel 
Trimble asked for the raid to be postponed. Mean- 
vhile, nd Lieut. Brooke went off to the front line, 
where he finally was able to convince the Divisional 
Intelligence Oflàcer tha-t there were hot sulîàcient gaps, 
and at the last moment, as the Companies were pre- 
paring to move to their assemblv positions, the raid 
was postponed for L2-t hours. Accordingly we spent 
the night in our somewhat cramped surroundin.s in 
Lone Trench, and the following dav the Artillery con- 
tinued to cut the wire, this rime with better success. 


One of the original objects of the raid had been to 
detract attention from a Canadian attack on "' Hill 
70 " to be ruade at the saine rime. This attack we 
watched from the back of Lone trench, and later in 
the day were able to give material assistance. The 
German co.tlnter attack c.ame from be.hind Hulluch, near 
ïngles, and the troops for it assembled and started 
their a.ttack in view of out posts. Captain Ellwood and 
lais m`achine gunners at once got to work and did terrific 
executi.on, being chiefly responsible for the failure o.f 
tbe enemv's efforts, and en`abling the Canadians to hold 
the Hill. 
So successful was the vire eutting on the 16th, that 
out patrol reported all readv for the raid, and ac- 
cordinffly we moved at dusk to o.ur assembly positions. 
One aire,ration in the of attack had to be ruade 
at the last minute. It had oiginally been intended 
that the attacking platoons, after passing in file through 
out wire, should spread out in No Man's Land into 
lines. As the German wire was onlv cut into gaps 
and no.t obliterated, it xvas now decided that platoons 
should keep in file until through that belt also, and 
spread out on entering the front line. Bridges xxere 
placed over out fro.nt line, ail faces were blackened, 
and bv 10-30 p.m. ail were readv for Zeo, which was 
to be ]0-58 p.m. 
The barrage started promptly, and the advance 
began. The enemv's wire was a little thick on both 
flanks, but all passed through fa, irlv eas.ily and entered 
the front line, vhere, as arranged, each man shouted 
to show he had arrived. Two enemv were f, ound and 
killed, but much of the trench was lu11 of wire. The 
attackers passed on rapidly to the second and third 


lines, finding the wire thicker in front o{ each line, but 
finallv reaching their objective and building bombing 
blocks. It was a dark night, and to avoid losing touch, 
Captains Petch and Shiçlds had arranged to call each 
other's names as they went forward. Suddenly 
Captain Shield's volte stopped ith one last cry, and 
Captain l'etch hurrying to the spot found he had been 
tait bv a shell and terribly wounded in both legs. 
However, lais Ccmpany reached the third line, and the 
party under 2nd Lieut. Plumer set out to destroy the 
Meanwhile, the mopping up and demoliti,on continued 
behind the attack. Several Germans were found and 
killed in the second l.ine, but on the whole verv few 
enemv were seen, somehow thev had managed to 
escape. Probably there were manv tunnels, and in the 
dark it was quite impossible to tell what was a tunnel 
entrance and what merelv a dug-out. Manv of the 
latter were destroved by "C " Company, though they 
lost nd Lieut. Lowe, who was slightly wcunded, 
through bein too keen to watch the effect of one of 
his ovn Mills bombs. Corporal Tunks and Pte. Baker 
did particularl.v good work with these demolition 
Back at Battallon Headquarters was a listening set, 
and this managed to overhear the German Company 
Commander's telephone report to lais headquarters. 
" We are being attacked ..... front line penetrated, 
.... second line wrecked .... third line etatered 
.... send up two sections." The two sections came 
in two parts. A strong bombing attack was made up 
Hicks Aller vhich was held bv our bombing part 3" at 
the newly built block; at the saine time out left was 


attacked over the open. "A " Company xvere readv 
for them, and Lilley, the Lewis Gunner, soon accounted 
for many and broke up the attack. " D " Company 
also had some fighting, in which both 2nd Lieut. Cole 
and Serjeant Growdridge distinguished themselves. 
The rime finallv came for the withdrawal, and the 
special tiare lights fired. Unfortunately they 
failed lo light, and messages had to be sent at once 
to the raid area. The enemv were held off while the 
withdrawal was carried out, and bv 2-0 a.m. the lïth 
the majority of the raiding party had returned. Captain 
Shields was carried in bv Ç.S.M. Passmore, who very 
gallantly staved out some time after the others were ail 
back, but nothing could be round of Capt. Marriott 
or 2nd Lieut. Plumer and the " Goose " party. Capt. 
Marriott had been last seen in the second German line, 
but he had been mis.sed in the withdrawal, and was 
never seen again. We brought no prisoners and no 
identifications, though one man brought back a rifle and 
another some papers from a dug-out. Several of the 
enemv had undoubtedly been killed, but no one had 
thought to cut off shoulder straps or search for pay 
books. At 3-0 a.m. we returned to Noyelles, where we 
spent the day cleaning and repairing out clothing. 
The raid had hOt been a success. We lost Captain 
Marriott, 2nd Lieut. Plumer, and seven men missing, 
whom we never heard of again. Three more men were 
kn.on to be killed, and three others were afterwards 
reported prisoners, while no less than fiftv-one vere 
wounded. Cpt. Shields, the most cheerful, strenuous, 
and popular of Company Commanders, would never 
fight again. He reached Chocques h.o,spital with one leg 
almost blo«vn off and the other badlv shattered, and 


the l)octors dccided to anaputate the one at once. It 
is still reco.rded as a unique feat, that throughout the 
operation ncither the paticnt's puise ncr tempcrature 
altercd, thanks to his wonderful onstitution. The 
other leg so,on healed, and within a few months he was 
hopping over fences in England in the best of spirits. 
"B " Company had lost their second Company Com- 
mander in two months. Likc his friend Capt. Vylme, 
Captain Marriott had so.on won his way to the hearts 
of his Company, with whom he rose from l'latoon 
C3.mmander, while in the llcss he was one of the 
merriest of compa.nions and the friend of ail. 
Tbcre is no doubt that the enemy had been prcpared 
for us. The rapidity with which his barrage started, 
the partly wircd trenches, empty dug-outs and absence 
of garris.on all pointed to this. He probably waited for 
us at lais tunnel entrances, and hurried awav as soon as 
we arrived ; the few we found were those who had been 
too slow in getting awav. As far as we ourselves were 
concerned, we onlv ruade one mistake--failin to bring 
back any identification. Apart from this ail ranks had 
wrked well, and we were congratulated bv General 
Thwaites on our efforts. 
Five davs after the raid we relieved the 4th Leicester- 
shires in a ncw trenc.h sector, the " St. Elic left," and 
fo.r nearlv three months the Brigade remained in this 
saine part of the line. The scctor had its naine from a 
much battered coal' naine, the Cité St. Elle, which stood 
just inside the German lines opposite. About rive 
hundred vards on crur right, the Vermelles-Hulluch 
crossed No Man's Land, while a sim,i-lar distance on our 
left, Fosse 8 and its slag heaps formed the chier 
feature. All throtlgh 1916 active minin operations had 


been carried out along the whole front, and though 
there was rrow a deadlock underground, the craters 
still remained a bone of contention; each side tried to 
retain its hold on the near lip. Our right Company 
held a line of six of these craters, joined together, 
called " Hairpin " on account of th.eir shape on the 
aeroplane photographs. The centre Company held 
another gro.up called Border Redoubt, consisting 
amon(,s* other things of two cno.rmous craters, the 
Northerl and Southern. Between thcse two groups 
lav " Rats" Ceek,'" a short length of trench, '200 yards 
from the enemy, and without a crater. The left Com- 
pany held another isolated post--" Russian Sap "--500 
vards from the centre and not connected with it bv any 
usable trench. The old front line between Border and 
Hairpin, via Rats' Creek, a distance of 400 yards, 
could be used bv liaison patryls at night, but was 
impossible by day. 
The various posts in " Hairpin " were connected b. 
an underground tunnel with four exits to the trench, 
wbile another with tvo exits did the same for Border 
Redoubt. From each of these, a 300-vard tunnel ran 
\Vestwards to what had been the old support line, 
where thev were connected underground bv another 
long passage--Feetham Tunnel. A brancb of the 
Border tunnel led to " Rats' Çreel«" At various 
points along these tunnels exits vere built up to 
fortified shell holes, occupied bv Lewis gun teams ; these 
were our only supports, l)own below lived Co.mpany 
'Headquarters, th, e garlison, one or two tunnelling 
experts and the specialists, stokes mortars, machine 
gunners and others. It was a dreadful existence. The 
passages were damp and slippery, the walls covered 

ST. ELlE LEFT. 217 

in evil-looking red and velloxx spongey fungus, the roof 
too low to allow one to walk upright, the ventilation 
practically- non existent, the atmosphere, ahvays bad, 
became in the earlv mornings intolerable, ail combined 
to ruin the health of those who had to lire there. But 
hot onh- was one's health ruined, one's " nerves " were 
serioush" impaired, and the tunnels had a bad effect on 
,'s moral. Knowing we could ahvays slip down 
a staircase to safety, wê lost the art of walking on top, 
we fancied the dangers of the open air much greater 
than thev reallv were, in everv way wê go.t into bad 
The entrance to this tunnel system was at the end 
of out onh" communicatio,n trench, Stansfield Road, a 
deep well-gridded trench running all the wav from 
Vermelles. Battalion Headquarters lived in it, in a 
small deep dug-out, 200 yards from thê tunnel entrancê, 
and at its junction with the onlv real tire trench, O.B.I, 
the reserve line. In this trench thê rêserve Company 
lived in a gro.up of dug-o.uts, near the Dump, called 
Exeter Çastle. Thê left Company, with one platoon in 
Russian Sap and the rt.mainder back in O.B.1, alone 
had no tunnels. But after out first few t.ours, the 
svstem was altêred, and thê support Company, living 
in tunnels, provided the Russian Sap garrison. Bat- 
talion Headquarters had a privatê tunnel, part of thê 
mining system, leading to Feetham, whfich could be 
used in emergency, but as this was unlit, it was quicker 
to use the trench. The main tunnel svstem was lit, or 
rathêr supposed to be lit, with electric light. This often 
failed, and produced of course indescribable chaos. 
Although the tunnels had all thêsê disadvantagês, it 
is onlv fait to sav that thêy rêducêd our casualtles 


eno.rmo.usl.v, for duriag the three months we lost only 
three officers slightl.v v'ounded and eighteen men; cf 
these at least four vere lait out oa patrol. We also 
managed to live far m,ore comfortably as regards food 
tlan we should o,therwise have been able. Elabo.rate 
kitchens xvere built in Stansfield Rad, and hot tea, 
s.oup, the inevitable scexv, biscuit pudding, and other 
" hlxuries," xvere carr.ied up in hot food co.ntainers to 
the most forxvard p»sts. The only difficulty xvas vith 
Russiaa Sap, for its approach, Gord.on .oElley, was in a 
bad state; but as thc garrisoa xvas there at night only, 
thev needed ao.thing more than " midnight tea," and 
this could be taken to them over the top. 
A light railxvav rata ail the wav frm Saillv Labourse 
to Vermellcs, aad thence to the various forxvard dumps, 
ours at Exeter Castle. lations and R.E. material 
vere loaded at Sailly, taken by train to the Mansion 
House Dump at Vermelles, aad then by mule-draxvn 
trucks to the front. The Exeter IJump was lively at 
times, especially when a machine gunner on Fosse 8 
slag heap, popularly kn.oxvn as Ludendorf, vas pointing 
his gtm in that direction. But beyond a mule falling 
on its back iato O.B. 1, we had no serious tro'ubles, and 
got our rations everv night xvith great regularity. 
The enemy vere hot very active, although they were 
reported o be the 6th Bavarians, " Prince Rupprecht's 
Specials." An occasional patrol vas met, aud out 
parties were sometimes bombed, but on the whole the 
Boche confined lais energies to machine gun tire at 
night, scattered shelliug at any time, and heavv trench 
mortariaK, mostly bv dav. Fortunately there was hot 
much mortaring at night, and what there vas ve 
managed to avoid bv carefullv watching the line of 


flight, as betrayed by the burning fuse. These heavv 
mortar shells with their terrific explosion and enormous 
crater were very terrifying, and few soldiers could face 
them with the indifference shown to other missiles. 
One exception xas L/Cpl. Robinson of "B " Com- 
pany vho, with lais Le,vis gun team, treated them xvith 
the utm,ost scorn, and used to tire " rapid " with a rifle 
at them, as they came through the air. 
All this time the svstem of holding the Br.igade sector 
vas to have two Battalions in the line, one in Brigade 
support, and one resting at Fouquières. Thus, one 
rested everv eighteen days for six days, while one's 
trench tour was broken bv six davs in the middle in 
Brigade support. This last meant Battalion Head- 
quarters and two Companics in Plail.oso.phe, the re- 
mainder in Curlv Crescent, a support trench several 
hundred yards behind O.B. 1. Philosophe was a dirt3 
place, but had the advantage of being much less shelled 
than the neighb.ouving Vermelles, and we were not 
much molested. 
Fouquières was alwavs pleasant. The Chateau and 
its tennis court and grou.nds made a delightful Battalion 
Headquarters, and the Companies had very comfortable 
billets in the village. \Ve played plenty of football, and 
were within easv reach of Béthune, at this time a very 
fashio.nable to.wn. The 25th Divisional Pierrots occu- 
pied the theatre which was packed nightly, and the 
Club, the " Union Jack " Sh.op, a, nd other famous 
establishments, not to men{ion the " Oyster Shop," 
provided excellent rare at wonderfullv exorbitant prices. 
During these three m.nths we received many new 
officers, some of them staying for a few days before 
passing on to Tank Corps, Flyi,ng Corps, or Machine 


Gnn Corps, o.thcrs proving themselves worthv of our 
best traditio,ns. One party in particular, 2nd. Lieuts. 
F. G. Tay'lor, H. C. l)avies, G. K. Dunlop, and ,V. R. 
Todd, provided four wl»o came t.o stay, a verv valuable 
asset, when s.o mallV merelv looked in for tea and then 
xvent awav. Others who came to fight were -°nd Lieuts. 
,V. Norman, A. J. Mace, J. S. Argyle, C .D. Boarland, 
J. G. Christ3", A. Asher, A. M. Edwards, and, later, 
Lieut. 1'. bleasures, who had been with us in 1916 for 
a few weeks. Col. Trimble and Capt. Moore each had 
a month's lcavc, and Major Griltiths, after commanding 
during the Colonel's absence, went to Aldershot for a 
three months' course. Cpt. Burnett became .°nd in 
Command with the acting tank of Major. Capt. Hills, 
the Adjutant, returned fnom England and resumed his 
duties, while Captain \Vollaston took charge of "B " 
Company for a short time, and then went to the Armv 
Sch.ool, where he staved as an Instructor and was lost 
to ns. Çaptain Barrowcl,iffe came to us for a short 
rime in command of "D " Cmpany, bnt then went 
to the Armv .'qchool, and handed the Company over to 
Lieut. Bvo,oke, who had been granted an M.C. and 
three weeks' leave $or his Hulluch patmls. nd Lieut. 
Campbell went to Hospital with the results of gas 
pois.oning and had to go to England, whithcr also went 
2nd Lieuts. Rawson and (;ibso,n wlm were invalided. 
A great loss fo us xxas .our Doctor, Morgan, 
who had been with us for manv months and was now 
sent to Mesopotamia, and was replaced bv a succession 
of until we finallv got the invaluable ,V. B. 
Jack. There were changes, too, in the ranks. Most 
important was the departure of R.S.M. Small, D.C.M., 
our Serjeant Major since mobilization. He had been 

ST. ELlE LEFT. 221 

unwell for some time and at length had to go to 
Hospital and home to England. Debarred bv his age 
from taking a Commission, for which he was so well 
suited, he had rendered three vears' very faithful service 
to the Battalion, untiring alike in action and o.n the 
parade ground, and popular with ail, ol:ficers, N.C.O.'s 
and men. He was succeeded bv C.S.M.H.G. Lovett, 
formerlv of " B " Company, and latterlv serving with 
the 2nd/Sth Battalion. At the saine rime, Serjt. N. 
Yeabsley, a very capable horseman and horse toaster, 
came to us frm the lth Battali.n as Transport 
This long tour of trench xxarfare was hot entirelv 
de'oid of interest, and several llttle incidents occurred 
to break the monotonv. The first was a big " strafe " 
on the 25h of August, when for some unknown reason 
the enemy shelled Stansfield Road very vigorously, and 
obtained a direct hit on " C " Company Headquarters. 
Lieuts. Banwcll and Edge were occup.ving the dug-out 
at the time, a,nd were both shaken, though the former 
as usual did hot take [o,ng to recover. Lieut. Edge, 
h.owever, was sent to the Stores for a rime and for 
some months acted as Transport Ot]cer. On another 
occasion, 2nd Lieut. Norman was firing rifle grenades 
from " Hairpin " crters, when he received one in 
reply, and had to g,o to England with one or two pieces 
in him. 
Except for these two incidents, all other excitement 
occurred in No Man's Land, where we had patrols 
every n,ight in the hopes of catching a Boche. The first 
to meet the enemv was _'2nd Lieut. *landy, who was 
almost surrounded bv a large party of them just North 
f Northern crater. He managed to fight his way out, 


though for a time he lost one of his party, I»te. 
Brotheridge, who did some fighting on his own and 
returned to us at dawn. After a rime, tired of finding 
no one, our patrols became mo're venturesome, and 
most nights entered the German lines at some point or 
other. "A " and "C " Companies worked mostly 
round the Hairpin craters, a.nd Lieuts. Banwell and 
Russell, 2nd Lieuts. Dunlop and Norman, ail explored 
the enemv's fnt line. On one occasion Capt. Petch 
himself accompanied Lieut. Russell and Serjeant Toon 
to look at the elaemy, and for a change found his front 
line held. They were caught peering over the parapet, 
and got a warm reception. Both ofiàcers were slightly 
wounded and had to go to England. Meanwhile, Lieut. 
Banwell took command of "A " Company. He, too, 
on another occasion explored the saine piece of trench 
and found it empty, n.o-r ¢oulc he attract any enemy, 
though he and his party shouted, whistled and ruade 
no,ises of everv description. 
Border Redoubt and Rats' Creek were the hunting 
gvound of " B " and " D " Companies, and here Lieuts. 
Ball and Measures more than once nearly captured a 
Boche post. But the enemv was oo alert, and slipped 
avay alwavs down s.ome tunnel or deep dug-out. But 
the best patrolling was done fl-om Russian Sap, bv 2nd 
Lieut. Cole and his gang from "D " Company, in- 
cluding Serjt. Burbidge, Cpl. Foster, L/Cpl. Haynes, 
ltes. Thurman, Oldham and others. Thev had very 
bad luck, f:or on two occasions they lav in wait for the 
enemy in his own front line and he never came, though 
he had occupied the post the previous night, and the 
party, wet through and frozen, had to return empty 
handed except for a bomb or two. 


There was one other unusual occurrence before we 
left the St. Elie sector. We were visited one day by a 
local newspaper reporter, Mr. \Vilkes of the " Leicester 
Mail," wh.o carne to see us in trenches, and was intro- 
duced to the tunnels and ail the " grirn horrors" of 
trench warfare. It seerned curi.ous to see a civilian in 
a grey suit, adorncd with a steel helrnet and box 
respirator, wandering about the cornrnunication trenches. 
On the 14th of Novernber, while in Brigade Support 
at l'hilosophe, we were ordered to reconnoitre the 
" Hill 7o " sector, a vicw to taking ove,r the line 
frorn the Sherwood Foresters. The sarne day xve 
rnoved to sorne particul.arly cold and uncornfortable 
huts at Mazingarbe, going to the line the next night. 
Our route lav the main Lens road past Fosse III. 
and Fosse VII., then bv tracks past l'rivet Castle to 
Railway AIley. This endless communication trench led 
all the way past the Loos Crucifix, still stand- 
ing, to what had been the front line before the Canadian 
attack. Thence various other alleys led to the front Our new sector was by no rneans luxurious. 
There was a front line trench and portions of a reserve 
line, all rather the worse for wear, while the cornrnuni- 
ca.tion tre.nches, " Hurrah " and " Hurnbug " Alleys, 
were unspeakably filthy. The whole area at the top 
of the hill was an appalling mess of tangled rnachinery 
frorn Puits 14 bis, battered trenches, the rernains of 
two woods, Bois Hugo and Bois Razé, and shell holes 
of every size and shape. There was rnud and wet chalk 
everywhere, and a verv poor water supply for drinking 
purposes. \Vhat few dug-outs existed were the usual 
srnall Gerrnan front line post's funk holes, and ail faced 
the wrong wav. It vas a bad place. Tl»ere was, how- 


ever, one redeerning feature. Frorn tbe hill we could see 
everything, Hulluch, XVingles, Vendin and Cité St. 
Auguste lay spread out before us; we could see the 
slightc.t rnoverncnt. Behind the bill, Support Com- 
panies were out of sight, and those hot actuallv in the 
front line could alrnost all wander about on top without 
fear of being seen. Furthernaore, there were no tunnels. 
We spent ail out tirne working, for tbere was much 
to be docte. Out chier tamis wcre clearing out cxisting 
trenches and digging new communication trenches 
wbere tbey were wan,ted. Digging was boCh difficult, 
f, or the ground was sodden, and dangerous on account 
of the number ,of " dud " shells and bom,bs everywhere. 
Two men of 'B " Cornpany were injured by the ex- 
plosion of a grenade which one of thern struck with a 
shovel, and the next day Captain had a miracu- 
lous escape. Clearing the trench cmtside his Cornpany 
Headquarters, at the junction iç.f " Horse " and 
" Hell " Alleys, he put his pick clean through a Mills 
bo'.rnb; fortunatelv it did hot explode. Padre Buck also 
had a busv tirne, for there were rnanv unburied dead 
still lying about. Hearing of one body s,orne sixty yards 
out in No Man's Land, where it ha,d been found bv a 
patrol, the l'adre went out with bis orderly, I)arby, 
to bury it. It was a mistv rnorning, and thev were un- 
rn,olested until suddenlv the rnist lifted and thev were 
seen. Darbv was woundcd in the head, and thev were 
heavilv fired on, but this did hot w,orrv the Padre, who 
brought his orderlv back to out lines, and carne in 
wi.thout a scratch. 
X.¥e rernained onlv seven davs in this sector, and 
did hot corne int,o contact xvith the enemy at all at 
close quarters. A few bornbs were tbrown in the Bois 

ST. ELlE LEFT. 225 

Hugo trenches, and a raid by the llth Division on our 
right caused a considerable amount of retaliation to 
fall on out heads, but o.n the whole the enemy was 
quiet, and we had practically no casualties. There was 
hot rime to learn the ground xvell enough to do anv 
extensive patrolfing, though Lieut. \Vatherstone earned 
the 1)ivisional Commander's praise for a bold recoaa- 
naissance from the Bois RazC The transport had as 
bad a time as, bringing rations on the light 
railwav through Loo.s, which was never a pleasant 
spot. Once again a mule succeeded in falling into a 
trench, and if took R.S.M. Lovett and a party of men 
m.ore than an bout to extricate it. 
The J, th Battalion took out places at the end of the 
tour, and we marched back to Mazingaibe. Out 
billets had been slightly improved, and Headquarters 
now had a bouse in the Boulevard, commonlv called 
" Snobs' Aller." \Vhile here a new horse, a large 
chestnut, which arrived for the l'adre, caused c, on- 
siderable commo.tion in the Regiment. First he bolted 
with the l'adre half-wav from Mazingarbe to Labourse, 
when he finallv pulled him up and dismounted. He 
then refused to more at all, and went down on his l«aees 
to l'adre Buck, xh.o as most disconcerted, especially 
when the animal mo.aned as though trulv penitent. The 
next dav the Adjutant tried to ride him, and once more 
he bolted. This rime his career was short, for horse 
and rider came down on the Mazingarbe cobbled high, and the Adjurant had to go to Choeques hospital 
with a broken head, and was avav for a weel« 
During his absence we lost Colonel Trimble, who, 
much against his will, was ordered to take command 
o.f his ovn Battalion, the 1st East Yorkshires. He had 


been with us for seven months, and we were ail very 
f, ond of hirn and verv sorry indeed when h.e had to go. 
Vforse still, there seerned n,o chance of Col. Jones 
çeturning to us. For six weeks, Septernber and 
Oct.ober, he had been cl.ose to us in Noeux les Mines, 
attached to the 1st Battalion, and more than once had 
com.e over to see us, but now the 6th Division had 
moved away and we d, id not know their whereabouts. 
The matter was finally settled by the arrival of a new 
Comrnanding Officer in the saine car which carne to 
fetch Col. Trimble. Lieut. Colonel R. V. Currin, 
D.S.O., of the York and Lancaster Regirnent, had corne 
to take cornrnand. 



1st Dec.. 1917. 12th April, 1918. 
COLONEL Currin, oor new Otlcer, xxas 
a South African, a large man of eno.rmous physical 
strength. He at once terrified us with his language, 
xxhich can onlv be described as volcanic, and won our 
respect by bis wonderful fearlessness. Of this last 
tbere was no question. In trenches, he would wander 
about, with his hands in his pockets, often with neither 
helme.t n.or gas-bag, and quite beedless of whether or 
no the enemv could sec him. More than once he was 
shot at, and more than once he had a narroxv escape at 
the hands of some hostile sniper, but this appeared to 
bave no effect on him, and after such an escape he was 
just as reckless as before. He had withal a kind heart 
and a great sense of humour. 
A few davs before his arrival we had moved from 
Mazingarbe to Drouvin and Vaud.ricourt, and here xve 
were no.w warned that on the 1st December General 
Thwaites would inspect the Brigade in review order. 
A rehearsal was carried out in a field near Noeux les 
Mines, a rehearsal so amusing in man)" ways, that the 
Clonel loved to tell the storv of what he called his first 
experience with the 5tb Battalion : " On approaching 
the parade ground I sent forward A, who was 


acting Adjutant, to find where we were to fall in. Mv 
Adjurant was in Hospital as the result of falling off 
horse. ,Vhen I reached the field, I saw an officer 
galloping about waving his arms, but whether he was 
signalling to. me, or trying to manage lais horse I could 
hot tell, so sent Burnett to find out. Burnett's horse 
promptly stumbled, fell and rolled on him, so I went 
myself and found the lucldess A quite incapable of 
managing his pony. 1 told him to dismo.unt, while 
marched the Battalio,n into place, but subsequently 
round he had hot done so because he couldn't! 
Eventuallv the Serjeant-Maior seized him round the 
waist, someone else led the pony forward, and A 
was left in the Serieant-Maior's arms a.nd lowered to 
the ground. Ail this in frent of the Brigade drawn up 
for a ceremonial parade !" The parade itself also had 
its amusing side, chieflv o«ving to the ignorance of 
certain Staff Ot]ficers on matters of drill. However, 
a friendly crump, arriving in the next field, put an end 
to the proceedings, and we marched home. 
After ail this bother the actual inspection was cancelled 
and we went i»to trenches again instead. Our sector 
thi.s time was Cambrin, called after the village next 
North of Vermelles, ,nd the sector immediatelv on the 
left of our last--St. Elle. On the morning of the 1st 
of December we marched to Annequin, on the Beuvrv- 
La Bassée Road, and relieved some Loyal North 
Lancashires, \V,orcestershires and Portuguese in the 
Brigade support positions. The Headquarters and two 
Companies were in Annequin village, the other two 
Companies in two groups of dug.outs, " Maison 
Rouge " and " Factory," about 500 vards East of 
'Cambrin. \Ve only staved here twenty-four hours and 


then wen.t into the front line, " Cambrin Right " sub- 
Cambrin Right was very like St. Elle Left with the 
g.ood po.ints left out. The right Company had tunnels 
but they were not sale, though just as smelly as our 
old o.nes. It was the same on th.e left, xvhile in the 
centre, there were deep enough tunnels, but they were 
unconn,ected with anything and unlit. The front line 
consisted mostly of craters, a large series of which 
occupied what had once been the Hohenzollern 
Redoubt. At intervals along the lips were odd posts, 
each at the end of a short trench leading back into 
N.orthampto.n trench or the tunnel system. The right 
group of tunnels, the Savile tunnel, started half-wav up 
Savile Row, a communication trench which had 
originally run from the Reserve line to Northampton 
trench, but now stopped at the tunnel entrance. The 
centre gr.oup had no name, started from Northampton 
trench, and had no propcr communication trench. The 
left group was the " Quarry " tunnel system, starting 
from the old quarry and running leftwards fom the 
N,orthern edge of the Hohenzollern craters almost to 
our posts opposite Mad Point. The left Company 
had no posts actuallv o'n crater lips, though they had 
one or two craters in No Man's Land. " Quarry " 
Alley led to the " Çuarry " and a newlv dug trench 
ran from this to Northampton near the centre tunnels, 
but it was in bad conditic,n and seldom used. As a 
rule, those who wished to visit the centre went through 
either Savile or Quarry tunnels to get there. One other 
trench led forward from the Reserve Line, Bart's Aile), 
but this ended in a large pile of sandbags and one of 
the Tunnelling Company's private entrances to the 


mining galleries. Between the Reserve Line and 
Northamplon a few ends of gas piping, s.ticking out of 
the ground, showed where our 1915 front line had been, 
from which we had attacked on the lSth October. The 
lwo flank Cmpany Headquarters were in the tunnels, 
the centre Company in a deep du,c-out in Northampton 
trench. The Reserve Company, with platoon of 
each of the front line Companies, l.ived in the Reserve 
The Reserve Line was about the best trench in the 
sector. It was deep, well traversed, and had many 
good dug-outs. It also contained our cook-houses and 
dumps. The light railway fvom Vermelles, on wh.ich 
came rations and " R.E. material," tan along behind it, 
so that Company Quartermaster S.erjeants co.uld deliver 
their rations to the reserve platoon of their Company, 
and there was no fear of a carrying party from another 
Company " pinching " s,ome of the rum. \Vestwards 
from this trench tan three communication trenches, ail 
in good condition, Bart's Alley, Left Boyau and Quarry 
Aile)', ail leading to th-e Vermclles guage rail- 
way line, whose hedges concealed Sussex trench. Here, 
in some verv elegant, but hot verv shell-proof dug-outs, 
lived Batta[ion Headquarters. The offic,ers' bedrooms, 
and the Mess were on one side, the offices o.n the other. 
Here, Corporal Lincoln and Pte. Allbright, the Orderlv 
Ro,o,m clerks, took it in turn to look after the papers, 
keep the tire alight and general- make a happy home 
out of a crazv shanty with a wobblv roof and a door 
facing the Boche. Manv would have preferred to go 
clsewhere in case o.f shelling, but these two never left 
their papers, though mre than once the roof came 
perilously near being whisked off bv some xvhizz-bang. 

('AMFIR 1N R1GHr. 231 

Philo.»olaher James Lincoln was particularly imperturb- 
able, as he sat surrounded by pipes and beautifully- 
sharpened pencils, discussing the weather and the 
crops with anv who chanced to pass bv. 
Further down this saine trench Serjea.nt Archer and 
" Buller " Çlarke looked after the bombs, hot quite 
such a p,o,pular weapon nmv-a-days, and the Pioneers 
under Serjeant \Vaterfield and L/Cpl. \Vakefield had 
/heir home next door. Here also was Serjeant \Vilbur 
and that very hard working bodv of men the Signallers, 
" strafed " by evervbodv when teleph'ones went wrong, 
and seldom praised durin K months and months withou/ 
a mishap. Then came Serjeant Major Lovett in a small 
dug-out by himself, and near him Serjeant Bennett and 
the Regimental Police; the latter in trenches became 
general handv men, carrying ration,s, acting as gas 
sentries, and doing ail the odd jobs. Round tbe corner 
a large dug-out with two entrances provided the 
Cantee,n with a home large enough to contain, when it 
was proc.urable, a barrel or two of beer. L/Cpls. 
Hubbard and Çollins and the runners lived xxherever 
they could find an empty shelter, and as usual spent 
most ,of their time carrying messages or showing 
visitors round the lines. 
There was one other trench, Railwav Allev. This, 
like its namesake to " Hill 70," was of enormous 
length. It started at Cmbrin, passed the Factorv and 
Facto.rv Dug-o.uts, and, foll.owing the Annequin-Haisnes 
Raihvav to its junction with the Vermelles Line, acted 
as dividing line between the two hah'es of the Brigade 
Sector. From the left Battalion Headquarters to the 
front line, an often much battcred part of it, it belonged 
to the left sector. Our Headq.uarters had a private 


trench running to it, " Kensington \Valk," deep and 
completel.v covered with brushwood by wav of 
In the St. Elie sector we had been three months 
almost without a.n incident of anv importance; we were 
onlv six weeks in Cambrin, and everv tour c.ontained 
some item of interest. \Ve started disastrously. On 
the night after relief Lieut. \Vatherston was vis[ting 
"B " Company's posts in the centre sector, when a 
part.v of the enemv crept up to and suddenly rushed 
the Lewis C'tin Section he had just visited. Lieut. 
\Vatherston turned back, drev his revolver, and rushed 
into the fight, but was himself shot through the head 
and killed instantaneously. He had fired three shots 
with his revolver, but was unable to stop the enem, 
who, having wounded the sentrv and blown the N.C.O. 
off the firestep with a bomb, now escaped, taldng the 
Lewis C,un with them. The N.C.O., Cpl. \Vatts, got 
up and gave chase, but tost touch with the enemv 
amongst the craters, and after being nearlv killed 
himself had to return empty-handed. Out predecessors 
in the line seemed to h-ave made no effort to wire this 
part of the line at ail, presumably thinking the line of 
craters a sufticient protection. A few nights later 2nd 
Lieut. Boarland reconnoitred the whole area with a 
p,atrol, and round that hOt onlv had the Boche got a well- 
worn track No Man's Land betxveen two craters, 
but cl.ose to the raided post had fitted up a small dug- 
out with a blanket and a coat in it. This would, of 
course, have been impossible had the previ,ous occupants 
.of the line done anv patrolling; we suffered through 
their gross negligence. 
T,owards the end of the same tour, the enemv made 


another verv similar attempt against Otlr extreme right 
pcs.ts beld bv "A " Company. L/Cpl. Beale and Pte. 
Foster xvere with their gun on the parapet, when they 
were suddenly rushed bv three or four of the enemy 
,ho had crept close up to them, and were o.n top of 
them belote they could open tire. L/Cpl. Beale used 
his fists on a (;erman who seized him round the throat, 
but xvas then shot in the chest and fell backwards on 
the rest of the section who were coming to help. The 
Germans tried to carry off the gun, but Foster put up 
a fight, and they dropped it just outside the trench. 
Hoxvever, one of thcm managed to knock Foster on the 
head, and, before help Cotlld arrive, he was carried off 
as a prisoner. Once again we suffered through the 
carelessness of our predecessors, for in this case, too, 
there was no protective barbed wire. \Ve spent everv 
night of the tour wiring hard, but could not of course 
finish the whole sector in rive davs. 
The tour also contained a verv severe Artillery and 
Trench Mortar bombardment, which seriously damaged 
our left and centre trenches. But more serious than 
this was the loss to "B " Çompany of L/Cpl. J. T. 
Pawlett, one of the best Lewis Gun N.C.O.'s in the 
Battalion, who was mortally wounded during the 
shelling. A few days later xve lost another excellent 
Lewis Gun N.Ç.O., L/Cpl. Stredder, of "D " Com- 
pany, who went to England wounded, fortunatelv hot 
verv seriouslv. 
The tour ended on the 8th, and for the next six davs 
we remained in Brigade Support, Annequin, Maison 
Rouge, and Factorv Dtlg-Outs. Even here we were 
not left in peace, for on two occasions the enemy 
opened verv heaw" bombardments against the Cambrin 


sector. The second occasion, the night of the 12th/13th 
of December, this was so terrific, and so much gas 
was used, that we had toi " stand to" at midnight, 
wbile manv messages, " Poison Cambrin " etc., were 
flying about. The damage to trenches, and more par- 
ticularly to the tunnels, caused by this bombardment 
was verv great, as we soon learnt when, two nights 
later, we returned to the line. Savilc tunnel was blown 
in in several places, and the Company Headquarters 
compltqely eut off and unusable. The tunnel entrances 
were shattered, and the whole system so badlv damaged 
as to be alnaost useless except as dug-outs for the 
various posts. Quarry tunnel was hot so badlv 
damaged, but several of the left posts had been isolted 
bv h.aving the main connecting tunnel blown in behind 
them. Fortunatelv the front line trench on the left was 
still in existence, and could be used instead of the 
tunnels. Finally, Northampton trench was literally 
obliterated in the centre, and a famous " island " 
traverse, no small earth-work, so completely wiped out 
that we could never afterwards di.cover its exact 
Once mre we had bad luck at the start of the tour, 
for we had only been a few ho.urs in the line when a 
shell on Quarry Allev caught a small party of men 
coming down. Signaller Newton and Stretcher Bearer 
C.ooke were killed outright, and Serjeant \,Voolley, 
acting Serjeant Signaller while Serjent \Vilbur xvas 
away, was wounded and had to go t.o Hospital. In 
addition to the wiring we now had the tunnels to dig 
out, and there was so much work to do that we had to 
bave assls.tance from Brigade; this took the form 
a Brigade Viring Platoon and a Company of Mon- 


mouthshires. On one occasion these two parties, both 
of course wo,rking " on top," saxv fit to imagine each 
other were Bocbe, and a small fight ensued. For- 
tunatelv no one was injured, though one of the Mon- 
mouthshires was only saved from a bullet through the 
head bv his steel helmet. 
The o.f the tour passed off quickly, a.nd the irre- 
pressible Capt. Bro,oke and 2nd Lieut. Cole of "D " 
Company started once more wandering about No Man's 
Land and the enemv's lines. Thev did the most in- 
credible things, and gained invaluable information about 
the enemy, tbo.ugh awkward ques.tions were cften asked 
about the naine of the " one otber tank " who, accord- 
ing to the patrol reports, accompanied 2nd Lieut. Cole 
o.n these expeditics. 
Out Ch,ristmas " rest " was spe-nt in Beuvry, and 
here we arrived cn the 20rb of December at the end of 
out second tour. Out first dutv was to inspect a large 
draft of 140 N.C.O.'s and men who had corne to us 
while we had been in the line. Most of tbem came 
from the l lth (Pioneer) Battalion of the Regiment, and 
were men of good physique, verv well trained, and 
excellent alike at drill, work, gaines, and in the line. 
During the xhole rime we were in France we never 
had a better draft than this. Meanwhile, although the 
enemv were apparently willing to allow us a Christmas 
rest, and kindlv refrained from bombarding our billets, 
OEhe higher command were hot so gra.cious, and we had 
much work to do. Ever since the defection of Russia, 
the Staff had realized the possib,ility of a German 
offensive on a large scale, and every effort was being 
ruade to organize out defences. Vrith this object, a 
new " village line " had been built, includlng Cambrin, 


Annequin, Vermelles and other villages, and this had 
now to be wired. Accordingly, on the night of the 
22nd/23rd December, the whole Battalio.n m,arched up 
to this line bv parties, and worked hard for several 
hurs putting out a " double apro.n fence." So well 
had Maior Zeller and lais Engineers organized the work, 
and so well did the Battalion work, mainly thanks to 
the nevly arrived Pioneers who vere experts, that we 
did an incredible amount during the night, and received 
the congratulations of the G.O.C. on our efforts. 
The actual Christmas festivities had to be held 
Christmas Eve, as we were due to go into trenches 
on the mcrning of Boxing Dav. Everytbing combined 
to make the day a great success. Plum puddings 
arrived from England, large pigs, wbich Maior Burnett 
had been leading about on a string for days, were 
turned into the most delicious pork, and there was 
plenty of beer. The Serieants' Mess also had a very 
lively din.ner in the evening, though one Company 
Quarter Master Serjeant spent mucb of his time 
dragging the Beuvrv river for his Co.mpany Serjeant 
Major whom he had 1,os,t. This Varrant Officer was 
eventuallv discovered asleep in an old sentrv box, with 
bis false teeth clenched in his hand. The Germans, 
in spite of tbeir boast, dr.oçped in a message from an 
aeroplane, " to eat their Christmas dinners in 
Béthune," caused no disturbance, and did not show the 
slightest sign of being offensive. Christmas, 1917, was 
unique in one respect. Ve produced a Battalion 
Christmas Card for tbe first and last time during tbe 
war. It contained a picture, drawn by -'2nd Lieut. 
Shilton, o.f a big-footed Englishma.n standing on a 
slag-heap, from which a Hun xvas flying as though 
kicked. It was very popular. 


Boxing Da3- , for us " Relief Day," vas bitterly cold, 
and an occasional blizzard made getting into trenches 
ail the more difficult. The ground was covered with 
snow, and each night there was a bright moon, so that 
the snipers of both sides were on the watch day and 
night for the slightest movcment. Out snipers claimed 
to hit several of the enemy during the tour, but we, 
too, had out losses. First, F. Eastwood, M.M., of 
"C " Company, a soldier who had scarcelv missed a 
day si.nce the beginning, was shot through the head 
and killed outside "C " Company Headquarters in 
Northampton trench. A few nights later, on the 30th 
December, Lieut. P. bleasures., commanding "B " 
Company, was sniped while fixing a sniper's post in 
the front line, and also killed instantly. He had not 
been us verv long, but he and Lieut. 
rVVatherston had proved themselves very keen subaltern 
officers, and both had been praised by the General for 
their work on patrol. Lieut. T. H. Ball temporarily 
t.ook oommand of " B " Company. 
XYhenever work was possible--it was often too light 
even at night--we worked at two new trenches, 
"Cardiff" and " Currin," connecting Bart's Alley 
with Savile tunnel, as an alternative to Savile Row. 
These had been dug by the Monmouthshires, and now 
had to be wi'red, and here, also, we suffered at the 
hands of a German sniper. Serjeant V. E. Cave, a 
very fine N.C.O. of "A " Company, was killed with 
a wiring party, and one or two others had narrow 
escapes. The New Year, 1918, was ushered in with 
several bursts of machine gun tire at midnight, but 
ncthing of importance occurred. 
Our stay at Annequin was once again disturbed, 


this time more disastrously than before. A curious 
accident occurred on the 6th of January, when three of 
our aeroplanes collided and fell near the village. The 
enemy as usual opened tire at once with one or two 
batteries, and an unlucky shell fell amo.ngst our 
Headquarter runners as they were leaving their billet. 
The two Gorporals escaped, Collins wih a slight wound 
and Hubbard untouched, but \V. Raven, M.M., xvas 
killed outright, and A. Grogan, D.C.M., F. Smith, 
tt. Eady, and H. Kirbv, so badly wounded that they 
died soo.n afterwards. It is impossible to estimate the 
amount of work tbat these runners had donc for the 
Battalion, not onlv as message carriers, but somê of 
them as personal orderlies to the C.O. and other 
Headquarter Officers. In Lens they bad proved them- 
selvês hot onlv capable of wonderful endurance, but 
o be possessed of the greatest courage, fearing neither 
thê enemv bimself nor his barrages. To lose so manv 
at onê blow was indeed a sevêre loss for the Battalion. 
After this, tbere followêd two comparatively quiet 
tours in trenches with tbe usual six davs at Beuvrv in 
bêtwêên thêm. Thê enemv's snipêrs wêre mastêred, 
and we suffered no more casualties at their hands, but 
our bad luck still pursued us, and o.n the 10th and llth 
January the left of the Reserve Line was badlv battered 
by trench mortars. The left hall Battalion cook-house 
vas blo«vn in, and Serjeant Growdridgê of " D " Com- 
pany was killed, wbile several others vere wounded. 
In Serjeant Groxvdridge, "D " Company lost a most 
capable platoo.n Serjeant, tbe leader of manv a daring 
and succêssful patrol, and of thê highêst courage in 
battle. On the 20th of January we were relieved by 
the llth Division, and, aftêr spending onê night in 


Beuvry, marched through Béthune to Busnettes, be- 
tween Ch,ocques and Lillers, for a test. 
.Ve stayed at Busn.ettes f.o,r three weeks, training and 
playing gaines, and our best to recover from the 
iii effects of tunnels and wet trenches. Out training 
:as carried out on various areas round Chocques and 
Allouagne, and near the latter vas a good rifle range, 
over which we practised for the Asso.ciated Rifle 
Association (A.R.A.) Competitl,on. Thi.s competition 
was for a plat.oon, and included rifle and Lewis gun 
shooting and bavonet fighting, tire discipline and 
co,ntvol, and the general principles of the advance. The 
plato,on had to tire at various ranges, advancing from 
one to the other, and bayoneting sacks on the way. 
There were Battalion, Brigade, and Divisional Com- 
petitions, and to the Divisional wi.nners the A.R.A. 
were to present silver medals. In the Battalion com- 
petition, No. 1 l'latoo.n of "A " Company, under 2nd 
Lieut. Roberts and Serjeant H. Beardsmore, was 
victorious, but the other competitias could hot be 
held until February, after out next move. Fi.nally, this 
saine plao..o,n, beating the other Battalions in the 
Brigade, beat also the Staffordshires' and Sherwood 
Fresters' best platoons, and carried off the silver 
At this time there vere several important changes in 
the Battalion. First, we were very gtad indeed to see 
Captains "Fomson and Petch back again with us, the 
former to comm.and " B," the latter to " A " Company. 
At the saine time, Capt. Barrowcliffe returned to the 
Royal Engi.neers. Lieuts. C. S. Alle.n and R. .V. Edge 
went to Engtand for six months, and 2nd Lieut. Todd 
becane Transport Officer. \e also received a large 


draft from the 2nd/Sth Battalion. Finding that it vas 
impossible to obtain sulïicient recruits to supply all 
the Battalions formed at the begi.nning of the war, each 
Brigade was now reduced to three Battalions, and we 
lost from out Brigade the 4th Lincolnshires. In the 
59th Divis,i.on, the 2nd/Sth Leicestershres were broken 
up and divided into drafts for th.e 4th Battalion and 
ourselves. Capts. J. A. Ball and XV. H. Oliver, Lieuts. 
S. G. H. Steel and A. D. Pierrepont, 2nd Lieuts. A. B. 
Bedford, H. Coxell, K. Ashdowne, and, later, A. E. 
Hawley and Everett came to. us, bringing vith them 
:200 N.C.O.'s and men. Amongst the latter were 
several Serjeants, one of them, Serjeant T. Marston, 
M.M., destined to add further laurels to the honours 
he had already xvon xx'ith the 2nd/Sth. There were also 
several " old hands " who returned to us, amongst 
them, Privates Garfield and Law of "D " Company, 
both original members of the 191-t Battalion. These 
reinforcements enabled us to form again fo.ur platoons 
per Company, and we became once more a full 
P, nother batch of reinforcements, which arrived at 
Busnettes, co.ntained several drummers of the 1st and 
:$rd Battalions. We alreadv had a few, and L/Cpl. 
Perry was given the rank of Serjeant Drummer and 
formed a Corps of Drums. Vith Drummer Price, 
an expert of many years' service with the side drum, 
and L/Cpl. Tyers, an old bandsman, to help him, he 
soon produced an excellent Corps, and all of them 
xvorked hard and keenly to make a good show. XVithin 
a week they played us on route marches and appeared 
at guard-mounting. Vithin two months they played 
at lles's, and the Files gave several very good concerts. 


Vhile in the Busnettes area, xve xvere in Reserve for 
the 1st Army, and in case of were liable to be 
sent to support the Portuguese on the Neuve Chapelle- 
La Bassée front. In case of this, the C.O. and Adjutant 
spent a dav reconn,otering the Lo¢on, le Hamel, le 
Touret area and its keeps and strcmg points, many of 
wbicb we aftcrwards occupied when the Portuguese had 
been driven out. 
On the 8th of February, we moved to Fiefs through 
Lillers, and the folloxving day marched to Reclingbem 
in the Bomy training area. The match took the form 
of a tactical field day, and we ended by taking up an 
outpost positio.n on the river Lys at Reclinghem, where 
" B" and "D" Companies and Headquarters xvere 
billeted. The other tw.o Companies were at Vincly, 
a little more than a mlle further South. A fortnight 
later, to the great regret of ail ranks, Clonel Currin 
had to leave us, after being only three months in 
command. During this rime we had become verv fond 
of him, and there is no doubt that his never-failing 
cheerfulness, his reckless courage, and the atmosphere 
of "the spirit " which alwavs accompanied 
him, did more than anything else co.uld have do,ne to 
raise out " fighting spirit" to a high pitch. His 
successor, Lieut. Col. G. B. G. \V.ood, D.S.O., of the 
Lancashire Fusiliers, had commanded the 2nd/Sth 
Battalion until he was xvoJnded, and now, returning 
to France, xvas sent to us as his Battalio had been 
broken up. 
Towards the end of February, the Staff became more 
tba.n ever convlnced tbat the enemv intended making 
a big spring offensive, and out training was devoted 
almost entirely to counter-attack practice and tbe re- 


taking a line of tronches which had bee.n temprarily 
lost. \Ve had several large field days near Bomy, witl 
this as the general idea, and would bave had several 
more had hot the Division been suddenly recalled to 
the line. On the 1st March, in a show storm, we 
marched to Ligny-les-Aire, and the next dav moved ort 
again to Ecquedecques, where we stayed three days. 
Our billets were fairlv comfortable, but there were very 
few for the ofl]cers; this, however, was soon righted 
after the first night, when we discovered many oflïcers' 
billets occupied by Serjcants of an A.S.C. Company 
who were pcrmanent" garrison " of the village. 
On the 5th of l\Iarch we marched through Lillers and 
Béthune again to Beuvry and, after staying one night 
there, moved the folLowing day t.o Annequin and Sailly 
Labourse, where we were responsible for the defence of 
the Annequin locality. The 1st Corps scheme of defence 
was a series of fortified localities, Ph.ilosophe, Cambrin, 
Annequi.n, Noyelles, and manv others f.urther \Vest as 
far as Vaudricourt. Each loÇaity had its trenches, 
dug-outs, stores of ammunition and rations, and was 
ready for defence at an 3 , moment. The German 
offensive was expected to start any day, and the 
"' wind " was tcrriblv " up." This, however, did not 
prevent the lnfantrv from amusing themselves when- 
ever po.ssible, and though the higher authorities may 
have been sleeping in their boots, we managed to get 
some foo,tball. General Rowlev gave a cup for a 
Brigade Compan.v Competition, and, while at Sailly, out 
'" A " Company beat Brigade Headquarters in the 
" final," after which " Tinker " Evans, the captain of 
the team, received the cup from the Brigadier. 
The folcaving morning we went once more to the 


line, back into the familiar Cambrin right sector. 
Unfortunatelv there was now a change. The En- 
gineers, in an endeavour to make Headquarters less 
elegant and more shell-proof, had thrown up so much 
white chalk, that they had attracted the attention of 
the German artillcry, who had prcmptly shelled the 
place out of existence. The Headquarters ncw lived in 
the old left Headquarters under Railway Alley. \Ve 
had only two Companies in the line, one in support, 
and one in Reserve near the Factory; we were thus 
orgnized " in depth " to meet the coming offensive. 
The enemy's artillery had certaiaqly become more 
active during out two months' absence, and he was 
lOW using far more gas shells than lefore. These 
were cf three sorts : " Green Cross," the me)st deadly, 
was filled with phosgene; " Blue Cross," the least 
harmful, with arse»ic both these were verv llght 
gases and soon blew awav. Far more dangerous were 
the " Velto,w Cross," mustard sheIls, wh.ich now ruade 
their appearance in ever numbers. The 
mustard hung round the shell h)les and was not blown 
awav; in cold weather it had no effect, but as sooa 
as the sun came o.ut it became exceedingly poxverful. 
A mustard shell falling on frozen snow might bave no 
effect until the thaw came several weeks later, when 
it w.ould be just as powerful as f .it had oaly just been 
fired. A very little of this gas was suftïcient to cause 
temporary and loss of vo,ice, burns and bad 
blisters. Much of it was fatal. During this tour, 
however, we did not surfer anv casualties, and rmthing 
of any importance occurred until out last morning 
before relief, the 16th of 5Iarch. 
At about 1-0 a.m. on this moming, Privates Culpecl¢ 


and Jobnson were sentries together atone of " I) " Com- 
pany's Levais gun posts. Hearing a noise in the ire, 
one of them challenged, and, receiving no answer, fired 
his Lewis gun. Two minutes later, two Boche, one an 
unwounded warrant olcer, the other a wounded soldier, 
were being escorted down Railwav Alley to Head- 
quarters. Neither of the two prisoners would say 
much, but what they did say still further confirmed the 
opinion of the Staff that the attack was soon coming. 
" Brigade Support " now consisted of the Head- 
quarters and two Companies in Sailly Labourse, the 
remainder at \Vindy Corner near Factory Dug-*0uts. 
To this last area wen.t llajor Griffiths and the Right 
Half Battalion. They had an unpleasant rime and were 
more than once heavily shelled, on one oc.caMon having 
a narrow escape. The ocers were sitting in a dug- 
out when an armour piercing field gun shell passed 
through the roof and out of the door, hurting no one. 
Major Griffiths and 2nd Lieut. Dunlop received slight 
scratches, as also did Adams, one of the barmen, but 
no serious damage was dot»e. After four days of this, 
the 5th Lincolnshires relieved us, and we marched to 
Beuvry to be in Divisional Reserve. Vhile here, the 
new Battalion di»tingui.shing marks arrived from 
England, and were taken into use--a half-inch yellow 
ring, two in.chcs in diamcter--worn just under the 
shoulder on the sleeve. They were rather bright at 
first, and earned us the naine (amongst other ruder 
epithets) of the " Corn-plasters." 
On arrival at Beuvry we were told that the Major 
General would inspect us at Fouquières txvo days later, 
the 22nd o.f March. This was considerably more than the pro,spect of the German offensive, 


and we at once started training, equipment, 
and revising our platoon organisation. Meanwhile, 
the offensive did begin in the South, and the Boche on 
the morning o.f the 22nd actuallv launched a big raid 
against the 1)ivisional front. However, the Inspection 
was hot postponed, as xe had hoped, and for several 
hours we performed at Fouquières. Our ceremonial 
was bv no means bad, considering we had d,one none 
for months it was very go,od, but what most pleased 
General Thwaites was out organization. In vain he 
tried to find mistakes. Soldier af ter soldier xvas asked 
" "Vho is your Section Commander? .... "Vho takes 
charge if he is killed? .... XVhen will it be your turn 
to take charge?" etc. etc., and soldier after soldier 
answered promptly and correctlv. The result was a 
good word for all of us, and we went back to billets 
much relieved and feeling quite elated. 
Meanwhile, the morning's raid had left a prisoner in 
out hands, and he had now caused about as much 
sensation as one man could, bv stating quite definitelv 
that the Boche would attack from the la Bassée Canal 
to " Hill 70" on the 25th of Match with t_hrce 
lJivisio.ns. "Ve went int<) the Cambrin sector again on 
the 24th, this time with three Cmpanies in the line. 
News of the disaster to the 5th Army in the South had 
reached us, and what with Generals coming round to 
pay farewell visits, and conferences everv few hours, 
everything was as depressing as possible. Curiouslv 
enough we were hot depressed, and, th,oagh most of us 
regarded the attack as a certainty, the private soldiers 
were particularly more cheerful than usual. Late at 
night we were ordered to withdraw ail except the tunnel 
sentries from the front line, so as to minimise the 


casualties during the enemv's preliminary bombard- 
ment, and to concentrate everything on the defence of 
the Reserve Line, which must be held at ail costs, ° of the N.C.O.'s and men grumbled a little at 
what they called giving up the front line, more 
especially as patrols reportcd that the enemv was busv 
strenKthening his wire, which did not secm the prelude 
to an attack. Finally, bv 2-0 a.m. on the 25th all 
was readv. The Staff at Corps Headquarters, ten 
toiles back, slept in their boots, all support and reserve 
Battalions moved to " battle " pos,itions and sl0od to, 
xve in the line behaved very much as usual. All waited 
for dawn. 
Dawn came at last--the quietest si.nce war began, hot 
a shot was fired. Morning followed and high noon, still 
no m,ovement; the Staff breathed a sigh o,f relief, the 
Infantrv groused, and we occupied our front line, 
preparing to passa normal night. However, this was 
hot to be. We had scarcelv posted out night sentries 
when at 8-30 p.m. came another message to say that the 
pris,oner who had originally caused the alarm had 
remembered that the attack was for the 6th, hot the 
-°Sth. AI1 precautions were tobe taken as for the 
previous night. \Vith this arrived a long epistle from 
the Intelligence department, showing that various new 
dumps and camouflaged screens had been seen in the 
German tnes, m:otor transport had been increased, 
etc. etc. etc.--all tending to confirm their wretched 
prisoner's statement. Once more we evacuated our 
fon.t line, once more we waited and once more we were 
disappointed. The °6th was as quiet as the _°Sth, and, 
except for a humorous telephone messaKe fron " C " 
Company, which caused much laughter as far back as 


Divisional Headquarters, there u as nothing to disturb 
the morning's peace. 
The following evening the l lth Division took over 
out sector, and ve marched out--the Headquarters and 
Left Hall Battalion to Sailly, Right Hall to Labourse. 
It vas a cold and rather miserable night, for, owing 
to a sudden more of our Q.M. Stores to Noeux les 
Mines, we had no blankets. Meanwhile, ail schools and 
classes were closed, and those students who had not 
been taken to stop the German advance on Amiens 
returned to us. The situation was serious, and another 
blow was expected at any moment in the neighbour- 
hood of Virer. The Canadian Corps was chosen to 
oppose this, and ve were consequently ordered to 
relieve anv un,its ,o,f that Corps still left on " Hill 70." 
But on the Sth March before relief had started the 
expected attack came--at Oppy. It was a miserable 
failure, we lost a few front line trenches, but our line 
stood firm; however, the Canadians were wanted in a 
hurrv and we were sent up to relieve them at once. 
The other Battalions went into the front line, we 
relieved the 46th Canadans in suppo round Loos 
Crassier and Raihvav Aller. Relief was complete bv 
10-35 p.m., an almost incredible performance, con- 
sidering that there had been no time for reconnaissance 
and practically no arrangements made for guides. 
It had rained hard throughout the relief, but our first 
two davs in the line were drv and warm, and we 
managed to drv our clothîng and make ourselves fairlv 
eomfortable. The enemv after the failure at Oppy was 
verv quiet on our front, though his documents cap- 
tured in that battle showed that, had he succeeded in 
his first dav's attempt, the second dav vas to include 


an ttack on the Hulluch front. So the " state of 
readines-s " in the Cambrin sector had ncrt been 
entircly without justification. On the 31st the weather 
broke again, but this did hot prevent the Padre holding 
his Easter services at each of the Company Head- 
quarters. The following evening we relieved the 5th 
Lincolnshires in the " Hill 70 "' right sub-sector. 
Our new scctor was verv much the saine as the " Hill 
70 left," which we had held in November. The 
rcserve line was the main line of defence, and was in 
fairly gocrd condition; the front line was shallow, wet, 
and dangerous. Opposite our right and centre was 
Cité St. Auguste, strongly held by the eremy; opposite 
the left, Bois " Dixhuit " and a broken down farm. 
q'here was ont tunnel, " Hythe," leading from the 
reserve line to a railwav cutting in the front line, but 
except in cases of extreme emergency this was hot 
intended I?o. be used bv the Infantrv. Battalion Head- 
quarters occupied a small and evil smelling German 
dug-out oa the reverse slope of the bill. Our tour 
lasted eight days, and alm.ost everv hour v«as eventful. 
\Ve started the tour with a gas bombardment soon 
after relief on "C " Company's support platoon, who 
occupi.ed an old " pill-box " near Cité St. Pierre 
dynamite magazine. The gas appliances were defective 
at the dug-out entrance, and several men were slightly 
gassed. At 8-0 a.m. the following molqfing, the 11th 
Division on our left carried out a very successful raid. 
This did n.ot in itself affect us verv much, but a bornb- 
dropping aeronaut during the raid observed large bodies 
of troops massing near Meurchin, a large toron behind 
Hulluch. Immediatelv the old alarm about a coming 
attack was reneved, and we once more were ordered 


tobe i. readiness. However, by evening as nothing 
had happened, we resumed normal co.nditions. 
This saine evening we were giv.en an entirely new 
scheme of defence, consequent upon the failure of our 
trench system to stop the enemy's advance in the 
South. The front line was to be held bv isolated obser- 
vation po.sts only, and there was to be no garrison 
within effective trench mortar range of the encmv. We 
were to consider the Reserve or " Red " Line the line 
of defence, and this must be rebuilt if necessary, to 
ensure that it was everywhere out of reach of the 
enemv's minenwerfer. Our chier difficultv was to find 
accommdati.on for the front line as they were 
withdrawn ; h,oavever, we cleared out old dug-outs, and, 
after a few days of terribly hard work, xvere able to 
comply with the order. 
Meanxvhile, the enemy's artillery became very active, 
and in addition t,o frequent gas bombardments of Loos 
and the, he harassed our tra.nsport verv badlv 
as they came along the main road. Some of this gas 
blew back over out lines, and for several hours we 
lived in an atmosphere of gas, scarcelv noticeable, 
but none the less dangerous. 
The 5th o,f April was particularly n.oisv. At 3-0 a.m. 
we discharged a large number of gas proiectors on to 
Bois " Dixhuit" and Cité St. Auguste, to which the 
enemv replied by shelling our reserve line, fortunately 
doing no damage. In the evening, however, he replied 
in earnest, and, just after "C " Company had relieved 
" B " in the front line, he put down a " box barrage " 
round their posts. Coloured lights were fired in all 
directions, the noise was terrific, and Captain Moore, 
expecting a raid, sent the " S.O.S." This was promptly 


answered, and within a few min.utes the gunners were 
hammering away vigorously at the enemy's lines, until 
he stopped shooting. Our front line was damaged in 
nmny places, but by extraordinary good fortune we 
escaped without a casualtv, l)uring the day, hoxvever, 
"A " Company lost another verv good N.C.O. in 
Serjeant Putt, wh,o was wounded and had to go to 
Throughout the 6th the shelling o.f Loos continued, 
and the follo«ving morning, in retaliatio.n to a heavy gas 
projccti.on on our part, the enemy turned his attention 
again to out front line. This rime xve were less 
fortunate, and a gun post of "D " Company 
was wiped out by a direct hit: tvo of the gunners, 
C. H. Pavne and T. 17 . Hardy, were killed. In the 
eveninff, in spite o.f a slight 'Vest wind, the enemy 
po.ured blue cr, gas shells into Loo,s, and much of 
the gas again drifted back across the lines. During" 
tl»e night, Lieut. Banwell, exploring the enemv's lines, 
si.ngle-handed ran into three of the enemy, who xvere 
almost on top of him he could use his xveapons. 
However, he managed to make his way out, and re- 
turn.ed to our lines, having lost nothing worse than a 
little breath. 
On the 8th of April, the enemv's artillery was never 
silent. Mustard gas was fired into the plain East of 
Vermelles and Philosophe almost without intermission, 
while Mazingarbe and Les brebis xvere similarlv bom- 
barded, only with larger shells. 2nd Lieut. Todd and 
Serjeant Veabsley xvere bo,th gassed with the transport, 
the latter s,o bad;l'v that he was severM weeks in 
Hospital. The foloving morning in a thick mist the 
enemv attacked the Portuguese and drove them fro.m 


their trenc,hes, pus,hing his advance \Ves.twards to«vards 
Estaires and Locon. The mustard gas bombardment 
of the plain still co.ntinued, but the feo.nt lines were 
comparativdy quiet. That nig'ht we were relieved by 
the 4th Battalion, and went once more into Brigade 
support. After relief, Capt. A. G. Moore, M.C., and 
forty-three other ranks were sent to Hospital with gas 
poiso,ning. This was not due to any one bombardment, 
but Io the fact that for the past week " Hill 70 " had 
hardh" ever been entireh" free from gas, and though 
never ira verv large quantities this ha.d gradually taken 
cilect. Capt. Moore was sent to E.ngland, where for 
some months he was serioush" ill with gas poisoning, 
and never returned. He and Capt. Shields commanded 
Companies longer than any other officers in the 
Battalion. No amount of tedious trench warfare could 
shake their enthusiasm or damp their spirits, " sort 
jobs " and six months' test were not for them; they 
simply stayed with their Companies until wounds took 
them to England--a really magnificent record. 
For three davs ve remained in support, and the whole 
time the plain behind us was full of gas. The Artillerv 
suffered mcst heavily, for they could not always wear 
their masks, and after the first 24 hours there was a 
continuous stream of blinded gunners helping each other 
back along the road to Philosophea terrible sight. 
\Ve too had several casualties, for the platoons, on 
their way to bath at Les brebis, had to pas.s aceoss the 
plain. At Philosophe we lost two mules, through a 
direct hi.t with a heavv shell, and the driver, H. Gamble, 
was very lucky to escape with no.thing more than a bad 
ound. It was a miracle he was n.ot killed. On the 
12th the battle became quieter, and that night, relieved 


bv the Canadians, who arrived verv late owing to a 
railway accident, we marched out to Bracquemont. 
BelSore we went the Germans to the North had advanced 
so far that we could sec their lights in out left rear. 
Bdhune, too, was in flames, so we we,re no.t sorry to be 
leaving the sector. Most thankful of ail xvere the 
transport drivers, for there are n.ot many worse places 
than the boos road, and fexv more desolate spots than 
Philosophe coal mine on a dark xvet night, vhen the 
wind is making the loose sheets o,f iron rattle, and the 
horses bave " got the wind up." 



lth April, 1918. 10th Aug., 1918. 
BRACÇUEMONT was sadly changed. Instead of the 
gay, almost fashionable suburb of Noeux les Mines, 
with numbers of people in the streets, it was now a 
wilderness of empty houses; the onlv sign of lire, the 
piteous little groups of women a«ad children waiting by 
the roadside for some French car to corne and take them 
to a place of safetv. The miners al.che remained. 
Inspired by Clemenceau, who had visited the place a 
dav or two before, they were w, orking day and night, 
regardless of bo.mbardments and nightly bombing raids. 
The furnaces at the Noeux Mines could be seen for 
toiles round, and were a constant mark for every 
German gun and aeroplane, but still the plucky miners 
carried on their work, kno.wing that on th.em alone 
depended the coal supply- of France. X.Ve were 
billeted in the Convent frmerlv occupied b_ the 
Casualtv Clearing Station. The following morning the 
Drums gave a short concert in the Bandstand, and after 
dinner we were taken bv lorries to Hersiaa Coupigny. 
Hersin Coupigny was still fairly thicklv populated, 
but the news from the *Ierville and Kemmel area where 
the enemv seemed to be making good progress, together 
with the arrival each evening of a few high-velocity 


shells, were fast driving the inhabitants to seek safetv 
further ,Vest. V.e remained bere until the 24tb of 
April, tbe first few days in huts, the remainder in the 
Tile Faclorv. It was hot an enjoyable test--in fact 
it was no res.t at ail. Ail ranks were rcady to more at 
short notice, and one expected almost hourly to be sent 
forward to fill some new gap in tbe line. 
Pamphlets poured in--" How to fo.rtify farmhouses 
for dolente "--" N,otes on reccnt German offensives " 
--Pl, ans .of rear defences. Generals ruade speecbes 
telling tbe troops to be brave, artillery officers recon- 
n.oitred new gun positions mlles behind the lines, and 
the entire Labour Corps seemed to be digging " last 
ditches." It was all very depressing, and many men 
were beard to remark that they wisbed the Bocbe xvould 
attack, so tbat tbere might be an end of words, and a 
chance for a few deeds. No one doubted that tbe 
Division was pcrfectly capable of loi&ag after itself and 
dealing with any German attack. 
"lqhen came Influenza, and xvitb it tbe end of ail chance 
,f immediate action for the Battalion. Oflàcers and men 
were attacked alike, and in a few davs more than 250 
were sent to Hospital. Fortunately a temporary place 
was fitted up at Bruay, and tbe majority" of cases were 
dealt witb there and hot sent do«vn tbe line, where they 
would have been i'rre.trievablv lost. The cause of tbe 
complaint will be for ever a mystery; les symptoms were 
temperature--weakness, fainting and I,oss of voice. 
Some blamed tbe gas, others tbe buts, and others tbe 
Bracquemont bospital buildings. The Medical Officer, 
wise man, would give no opinion. Tbe veather was damp 
and raw and at times very oold. Cons,equently no one was 
verv sorrv when, on tbe 24th, the Brigade marched to 


Bruav. The Battalion and a 9 tt high velocity German 
shell arrived in Bruay abo.ut the saine time and found 
he place deserted. Several houses had been hit, and 
he inhabitants had visely decided to take no risks, so, 
xvith thc exception of the colliers, had all gone. This 
made billeting very ditiàcult. Buildings were all locked 
up and o one had the key. Eventually everybody 
was squashed into the Girls' Scho,ol--the offic.ers 
occupied one of the dormitories, and, thugh uncom- 
fortable, ail had at least shelter from the tain which fell 
in torrents. At intervals a tremendous rcar followed 
by a crash annçunced the arrival of what became kncwn 
as " another toute suiter "; fo.rtunately no one 'as 
hurt. The following dav the Brigade m,ored into 
F.ouquières ; the 4th Battalion occtlpied the old Hospital 
huts, and xve shared the remainder of the village with 
the 5th Lincolnshire Rcgimcnt. Battalion Headquarters 
were in the Chateau, still occupied bv the txvo ladies, 
n,oxv the onlv civilians left in the village. With the 
most xvonderfullv cheerful cç.urage did these two remain, 
th,ugh their servants had gone, tlough food was almçst 
unobtainable, and thou.h there was seldom an hour 
xvithut a shell falling in sçme part of the village or 
its surrçundings. The Battaliçn was exceedingly luckv 
and escaped xvith practically no casualties; not so the 
4th Battalion, which lost several men in the huts. 
Most of the influenza cases now returned, and we were 
once mçre strç«g enugh to take the field. O.n the 
26th we lost Captain and Quarterm.aster A. A. \Vorley 
xvho went tç England never to return. For some time 
h'is health had been bad, but th,c>ugîh unfit fçr dutv he 
had efused to leave the Battalion until he had seen the 
-stores pr.operly organized for battle. Except for a 


s.hort stay in England in 1917, he had been with us 
since the beginning. His one th,ought was alvays for 
the velfare of the Battalion, and no one ever gave more 
devoted ser'ice than he did. His place was taken in 
June by Captain and Quartermaster \v. A. Nicholson, 
of the Regim.ent. During the interval the duties 
were verv ablv carried out bv R.Q.M.S. Gorse. 
On the 24th of April the Shervood Foresters and 
Staffords had taken over the lin-e from Route "A " 
Keep to the Canal just South of Locon. Four davs 
Inter we were ordered to relieve the Sherwood oresters 
in the right hall of the left sector. Various recon- 
n, oitering parties went up beforehand, and at dusk we 
moved off by platoons through Béthune and Essars. 
The f,ormer town had already suffered very badly. All 
ronds through the centre vere completely blocked, and 
troops had t,o find their way round its Western edge 
and past the Prison. Civilians had ail been evacuated 
and the onlv permanent occupants were the Tunnelling 
Company assisted bv some French colliers. The route 
to trenches was the mai.n rond through Essars, and 
parts of this were constantly "harassed" by the 
enemv's artillerv. The Battallon was particularly 
unfortunate on this first relief. Headquarter Oflïcers 
were riding, and, in passing the column, had ]ust corne 
level with the head of " C " Company, when the enemy 
suddenlv opened tire on the rond with a field batter'. 
Captain Banwell was thrown from his horse which was 
hit, and the remainder of the chargers immediately 
bolted across a field. The plunging a.nimals and the 
shells (about 50 of which were fired in two minutes) 
threw the leading platoon of "C " Company into 
confusion, and, as the ditch at the side of the rond gave 


no cover, the casualties were high; but for the coolness 
of the Platoon Commander, 2nd Lieut. H. Coxêll, thêy 
would bave bêên highêr still. Thê rêar platooia of 
" B " Company also suffêred heavilv. Th,e shells wêrê 
gas, and thosê men wh.o werê hit had small or no chance 
of putting on their masks. Captain Jack, thê Mêdical 
Oflicer, xx'as as usual wondêrfully calm, and quite 
rêgardless of his own pêrsonal safety, succeeded in 
getting several men under thê wall of a ho.use, whêre 
he was able to drêss their wounds. Thê remainder of 
the relief was carried out xxithout ntolestation. 
Our new sêctor was vêry different from anything" wê 
had previously sêên. The front linêkpractica[ly the 
outpost line--markêd thê limit of thê German offensive 
in April ; on the rig-ht xvas Route " A " Keep, onê of the 
old 1915 stronK points with two concrete machine-gun 
emplacements. It was now a mere heap of shattered 
trees, shattered trenches and the usual remains of many 
fiKhts, for in 0 davs it chanKed hands nine rimes. The 
Staffords captured it for the last time on the 9th of 
April, and from then onwards it remained Brltish. The 
line then tan between Loisne Chateau and Raux Farm 
---our old Brigade Headquarters of 191"5, now a German 
machine un and trench mortar nest--to the S.W. 
outskirts of Le Touret and on to the canal at Mesplaux. 
Except for the old keeps at intervals, it consisted 
entirelv of a few small holes dug mlore or less at 
random, with little or n,o wire in front. Behind his, 
alon K the whole Divisional front ran the Liverpool Line 
or Reserve Line, slightly deeper and better sighted 
than the front line, and defended by the "Beuvrv river," 
a small stream runnin K between steep banks and 
reputed tobe uncrossable bv tanks. Gorre and Le 


Hamel vill:ges came behind this line, and provided 
Battalion Headquarters with cellar accommodation, and 
the Support Battalions with billets of a sort. 
Fatras in the front line were not too plentiful, and 
Ccmpany Headquarters usuallv consisted of a hole 4ft. 
by 2ft. bv 2ft. into which the Company Commander 
could just squeeze himself, and curl up his feet to avoid 
baving them kicked and tv0dden o.n by the men passing 
along the ditch outside. Rations came to Gorre and 
Essars bv rail and limbcr, and were carried forward by 
hand over the top to the front line. Except for 
ccas.ional bursts of tire on certain roeds and villages, 
particularly Essars and Gcrre, the enemy was on the 
vhole quiet. These were small gas bcmbardments, 
an.d orne or two reallv bad days, but for the most part 
it was a quiet sector, except round Route A. 
Behind the villages came the La Bassée Canal wirh 
all the bridges mined and demolition parties readv to 
blcv them up in the event of a hostile attack. The 
idea cf course was that thev should be blown after the 
last Englishman N. of the Canal had either bcen killed 
or had cvossed it. That the bridges would get 
demolished ail right, none of us ever doubted for a 
moment; we were equally certain that this vould take 
place o¢a the first alarm of any attack, and those of us 
wh.o happened tobe on the North ba,nk would thus be 
compelled to fight to the end or swim. Fortunatelv 
these warriors were never called on to perform. 
Vaudric.ourt Park was the rest area. At first, bell 
tents and a few bivouacs were ail the available over, 
but in rime, as corrugated ircn could be sent dovn from 
cld horse lines in the forward area, messhuts, co3k- 
louses and canteens were built. There were no long 


spells of wet weather and when it was fine the Camp 
in the Park was delightful. It was never shelled and 
never b,ombed, and it is hard t) imagine a better place. 
Verquin and Vaudricourt provided the necessary 
estamin.ets and the soldiers could obtain as much vin 
blanc (or " Jimmy Blink" as it was more popularly 
called) as they desired; xvhile one Bertha ruade large 
sums of money by inserting a slip of lemon peel into a 
glass as cheap champagne and selling it to officers at 
an exorbitant price as a " champagne cocktail." The 
country round provided good ground or a sports meet- 
ing, in xvhich "A " Company were victorious, while 
"' D " Company managed to finish a close second in 
most events. Lieutenants Everitt and Quint and 
Private R. O. Start were the ch:ief runners, but large 
numbers took part and tremendous keenness was 
displayed bv ail. There was cricket almost every day 
in the Park, and great enthusiasm was sho.wn in the 
Battalion Championship, won bv Headquarters. 
From the beginning of Mav to the middle of August 
the Brigade never left these two sectors, Gorre and 
Essars, and during this time there was no change in 
the front line. It xvas seldom that anything happened 
of sufficient importance to final its way in,to the day's 
communiqué, but everv tour xvas full of i.n-teresting 
incidents, ail of which shoxv how the xvarfare was 
rapidly changing. 
Out first relief was remarkable for the fact that we 
took over at Battalion Headquarters two cows (and 
xvith them a daily supply of fresh milk), for xvhom 
L/Cpl. " Pat " Oo,llins xvas self-appointed cowman-- 
vhile the left Company found a plentiful supply of eggs. 
A stray mule was round wandering round the outposts 


on the " wrong "' side of the [3euvry river, while il! the 
farm actuallv in the front line we discovered still alive 
after "._':1 days without food--a cw and calf, two 
bullocks, an old white horse and a pig; they were ila 
a terrible condition of starvation and had to be killed 
by the Intelligence Olcer, :lad Lieut. Hewson, who 
found it a most unpleasant tast« There were of course 
man 5" dogs---one, at a cottaffe in no man's land, beinff 
particularly" ulapleasant for patrolling. In addition to 
Lan.ce-Corporal Collins' cows, txx,o others and a goat 
were led out bv l'rivate Muggleto«. The goat came 
to an untimelv end, being done to death in Vaudricourt 
l'ark bv its Company" Commander, out.ide wh, ose tent it 
was noisilv bexxailing its captivity'. 
In front of u., there was little or no wire, and our 
first encounter with the enemv was on the 6th of Mav 
when a Corporal and three rnen of " D " Company" went 
out to wire their post and marched sŒraiffht on to a patrol 
of alout 3 êlaemv waiting for thêrn. The enemy opened 
tire at close range and the wiring party threw down 
their xxire and replied. Two of the part 5" were tait in 
the first few seconds and a third--Private Smith--who 
had corne to us from the -nd/Sth in January---was 
attacked bv two Germans and carried off struggling. 
The Corporal fired at the enemv who then ruade off, 
leaving one dead man behind them. The Plal:oon 
Commander (2nd Lieut. V. M. Cole) came up and, after 
assisting the wounded back, set off to look for Smith. 
Except, however, for the dead man, nothing could be 
round of the enemy', and bv dawn the search was given 
up as hopeless. The following night Smith returned. 
It appears that the enemy more opposition than 
thev expêcted, marie off as soon as thev had got their 


prisoner, and, as there were plenty of bullets about, the 
remainder of the patrol, leaving prisoner and escort to 
follow as best thev could, hurried back to their lines. 
Smith watched his chance; suddenlv stooping, he 
kcked one man amidsbips, siezed lais rifle, gave the 
other a jab with the bayonet, and ran for lais life. He 
got away, but had to lie up un, til the next evening to 
get back. For this he was aarded the Militar} 
The following" tour, in the (iorre right sector, 
was very successful until the [ast two days when 
Battalion Headquarters received the just punishment for 
tempting fo.rtune too far. Both 4th and 5th Battalions 
had their Headquarters in the cellar of Gorre Çhateau-- 
cramped aud stuffy at anv rime, and in the hot weather 
unen,durable. Our Headquarters, therefore, cleared 
otlt a ro.o.l on the first floor for a mess--it had a carpet 
and other luxuries, and its onlv blemish was a shell- 
lole in the corner of the window. XVith great pride 
we invited Brigadiers and oçhers fo out new mess, until 
on the 17th of Mav the crash came. The enemy had 
fired several salvoes towa.rds the Çhatea-u during the 
afterno,on, and at 8-15 p.m. he started in earnest. The 
»:ood, the Chateau and the corner bv the Church were 
shelled unceasingly--first wi-th 77 and 105 m.m. sbeils-- 
later on with 5.9's. The mess was knocked inç the 
wood vas filled wi,th gas, the kitche.n and signal office 
both had direct bits. The Transport had a terrible 
time on the road, and it was onlv the devoted work of 
the Transport Ofiqcer, nd Lieut. XV. R. Todd, with his 
drivers, particularl.v Hill and Randall and the Provost 
Serjeant Bennett, which enabled rations to be taken up. 
An advance party of Stafford Otlicers got to the cellar 


anti couldn't leave it for two hours, un.til finally Colonel 
lVood took them up the line himself, returning alone 
through the wood. 
The Companies were comparatively immune except 
near the " Tuning Fork." General Thwaites was visit- 
in, the line at the time and had a n,arrow escape 
himself, while his A.I).C. was badly wounded. 
Towards morning" the shel$ing" somewhat subsided, but 
one ver)" unluckv shot hit the cellar ventAlat,o,r and filled 
it with gas. Then came the sun and with it the 
mustard; not verv many mustard shelJs had been fired, 
but, as the day advanced, the heat kep,t drawing the 
gas out of the gçound and the Chrteau bectme a death 
trap. XVe all cleared out earlv and went into the fields, 
but even so it was too late; many men's clothes were 
tainted, and by 6-0 p.m. all the serx'ants and than 
half the other Headquarter details were blind and had 
to go. Serjen.t Bent, o,f the Regimen.tal Aid Post, 
an.d A11bright, the Orderly Room Clerk, were amongst 
those who went down. Out Medical Officer (Captain 
XV. B. Jack), Intelligence Officer (-°nd Lieut. J. A. 
Hewson) and Lieut. K. Ashdowne al1 went to Hospital, 
while the 4th Battalion lost all their Headquarter 
Oflicers. By night the Commanding" Officer was unable 
to speak, th.e Adjurant half blind, and the Padre was 
doing everybody's job with his xxonderful energy. It 
was a very sorrowful Battalion Headquarters that 
handed over to the Staffordshires and round its wav 
slowly back to Vaudricourt. 
S.oon after that-on the -'29th of May--" C " 
Company had another g'as misfortune while in supp.cvrt 
in Gorre villag'e. Their h.ouse was he,avilv shelled with 
mus-tard, and thoug'h all men were taken out as socn 


as possible 40% of the Company, tgether with 2nd 
Lieuts. H. Coxell and O. D.arlington had to be 
evacuated. There was so much gas aoE this time that 
special compartments were set apart for gassed men 
and gassed clothing on the Fouquières-Le Quesnoy- 
Kan.tara Dump light railwav. 
Towards the etad of the month the crops began to get 
very high, and by the first week in J-une hardlv a day 
passed without some daylight patrol taking advantage 
of them. Çaptain Banwell first made the experiment. 
Accompanied bv his runner, Smiles, he visited the 
" crashed " aeroplane just N. of the Rue du Bois and 
f.ound a most elaborate German night post in a tree, 
with wires to gun posts. His example was 
followed on the 9th of Jun.e by 2nd Lieut. Cole, who 
went out one morning with Lance-Corpcral Thurman 
and a party from " 1)" Company. They crawled 
through some wire and found themselves close to a 
German shell-hole post. 2nd Lieut. Cole himself 
reaon.noitred this post, and finding the sentry dozing 
called up his Corporal. The latter the sentry on 
the head with lais rifle " to attract his attention " (so 
read the patrol report), and leaning over the hole 
whispered " Ici ver-----er." The Boche, however, was 
too frightened to " ici " and 1.ooked like giving the 
ala'rm, so 2nd Lieut. Cole jumped d.own and fired his 
revolver to hurrv him al<ng. This caused a considerable 
disturbance. Two German Machine Gun posts only a 
few yards away joined in the fight and for a moment 
things lo'oked bad for the patrol. The latter, finding 
thev could not get a prisoner, ruade a note of his 
Regimen.t, shot him, and made off under a heavv tire 
from the machine gun posts. Thev all got awav safelv. 


The Corps Co.mmander described 2nd Lieut. Cole's 
w.ork as " a verv fine piece o.f patrol xvork, and caIled 
for courage, initiative and cunning of a high degree." 
Ten davs later-on the 19th of June--the enemy 
suddenlv shelled the "' Tuning Fork Switch " trench, 
and this very gaffant young office.r was badly 
wounded in the arm. He was taken doxn to the 
Çasualtv Çlearing Station at once, but in spite of all 
the I)' efforts, blood poisoning set in, and on the 
29th Lieut. Maurice Cole died. The saine evening he 
was awarded the Militarv Cross for lais patrol fight. He 
lies now in l'ernes cemeterv. No olîicer vas ever more 
loved bv l»is naen, and iustly so, for he was not oanlv 
their leader in danger, but their first friend in ditfieulty. 
In the Mess " Bill " Cole was as popular as in the field. 
Patro, was no.t confined to these two Çompanies, 
and manv olîicers and men spent quite a large propor- 
tio.n of their time crawling tlaro.ugh the corn. Chier 
anaong these were 2nd Lieuts. Asher, Argyle, Boarland, 
Christy, Davies, Serieants T. Marston, IU.M., Haines, 
Foster, IU.S.M., P. Bowler, T. Tunks, T. Needham, 
Clamp and others. 
VCith the hot weathcr the La Bas.sée Cnal became a 
verv useful asset, and not onlv were there c,o.nstant 
bathing parties, but it was actuallv possible at the end 
of July to hold a swimming gala in the " Brewery 
Reach." There were several well contested faces and 
diving competitions, uninterrupted bv hostile aircraft, 
and a verv pleasant afternoon (considering the Boche 
were less than a mlle awa.v) was spent in this wav. The 
chief race was xvoa bv Signaller S.tanton. 
Toxx-ards the end of July, as ,there was no sign of the 
long expected German attack, preparations were marie 


for the coming winter. Houses were reinforced, and 
had concrete bouses built inside them, and some verv 
comfortable Headquarters were built in this way. 
Perhaps the best of these was the Battalion Head- 
quarters of the Route A sector--a cottage on the banks 
of the canal and screened from anv .,bservation bv the 
xxoods. It had its own bathing place (where Serit. 
XVilbur nearlv got drowned} and its own private 
approach bv the tow path--incidentally-, of course, its 
oxn mosquitoes, but one got used to them in rime. 
On the l.'th of July we lost Captain Banwell, xvho 
went into hospital for a few weeks with his fifth wound-- 
an aeroplane bullet in the stomach. It was not at all 
a sli.¢ht wound, but he managed to persuade the Pernes 
Do.ctors that it was, and so contrived hot to be 
evacuated beyond the C.C.S. He eventuallv returned 
in August, and after a few days as A.D.C. to General 
Ro«vley,, who was then Commanding the l)ivision, ,vent 
off o'n a month's leave to get fit. 
On the 6th of August the Staff had reason to believe 
that the Boche be contemplatin.g a withdrawal 
that m, ornin.g, and we were asked to make sure that 
we could still get in touch with the enemv. Accord- 
ingly, Lieut. Pearson, Lance-Corpo.ral " Antv " Carr 
and Pte. Ferrin, all of "A " Company, erawled out at 
dawn toxvards the rulned houses and batterv positions 
opposite Route A Keep. It was the anniversarv of 
Carr's 1916 experience and before thev went several of 
his friends iestinKly warned him no.t to be captured this 
rime. The p.atrol crawled via several dvkes and got 
close to the bouse without disturbing anyone, until, to 
get a better view Lieut. Pearson knelt up to use glasses. 
A machine .¢un then opened tire on them at close range, 


so they returned. On th.e way back they were suddenly 
fired at by a post ,in their path--the ,occupants must 
Rave been asleep on the way out. Pte. Ferrin was 
Rit and died almost at once, but tre others tried to bomb 
tre enemy out, and, they could no% decided to 
lie still until evening. H,owever, the enemy proved 
m,ore resoIute than usual and soon surrounded and 
captured the whole party. The fight was seen bv 
several of the front line posts and also by a patrol of 
"D " Company under nd Lieut. Chris.ty. TRis latter 
was quite unable to give any help as it was itself having 
ver)" great difficultv in getting away from tw.o large. 
Boche patrols who were trying to rut it off. A few 
days later, while we were in support at Le Quesnoy, 
the enemv started his withdrawal, and the Gorre-Essars 
front once more became a battle sector. 



10th Aug., 1918. 12th Sept., 1918. 
TIE enemv started his withdrawal North o,f the Lawe 
Canal, and it was hot until the latter hall of August 
that the Gorre sect.or was affected. However, ail 
preparations for more open warfare were ruade, and the 
supply of rations and ammuni,tio,n was reorganised in 
such a wav that either limbers or pack animais could 
be used at short notice. During our tour in the Right 
Sector from the 14th to 18th of August ail rati.ons for 
" Route A " were taken up to forward Company Head- 
quarters on mules and ponies; the latter, under the 
skilful handling of their drivers, showed a most 
admirable fortitude in the face of macbine-gun tire. 
Each night a little column of heavily laden ponies under 
Corporal Archer or Lance-Corporal Foster could be seen 
m,oving slowly along the Tuning Fork Road, first with 
rati,ons then with water; towards midnight they 
returned (" drivers up ") at a much brisker pace. 
On the 18th we left trenches and came into support 
for three davs at Le Quesnoy. Colonel V¢ood was 
away Commanding the Brigade for a short time and 
Major Griffiths was in Command. Ail available men 
were set to work cutting the corn, which was nov 
ripe and would soon spoil if no,t cut and carried in. 


Bayonets took the place of scvthes as the latter wcre 
almost unobtainable, and it was surprisiaag to find xvhat 
progress was ruade with these weap,ns. In a few 
davs several train loads were sent down on the light 
railwav to Fouqnières. Ail this rime the news from the 
South was most enconraging. The great attack of the 
8th had frccd Amiens and cach dav brought us news of 
further successes. On the 20th the Staffordshires on 
the lcft round some of the enemv's advanced posts 
unoccupied, ,and the same dav prisoners taken on the 
Lawe Canal spoke of an impending retreat to the Le 
Touret-Lacontnre line. On the 21st the Commanding 
Otfice.r returned, and the same dav the Brigade moved 
into and occupied the old German front line near Cense 
du Ranx Farm. That night we relieved the 4th 
Battalion in the ,o,ld Right Sector and occupied the 
Liverpool Line as Snpport Battalion to the other two, 
both of whom were in and forward of the old front On the nd General Rowlev decided to have one 
outpost Battalion for the whole frontage, and the 
following dav we took over the line from the junction 
with the 55th Division (in the old front line E. of 
" Route A Keep ") to the juncti.on with the Sherwood 
Foresters N.E. of Le Touret village. 
On the extreme right xve had pushed forward across 
the road where thev were opposed in the centre by 
Epinette East Post, and on the left by some tiouses in 
the Rue itself, to of which the Boche as still 
clinging tenaciouslv. On the left the line was continued 
by " D " Company (Lieut. T. H. Ball in the absence of 
Captain Bm.oke) who held positions astr,ide the Rue du 
Bois. The extreme left platoon was about :200 vards 
up the Rue de Cailloux and occupied one of the old 


keeps in the Sailly--Tuning Fo,rk--Vielle Chapelle Line. 
Here, and on the Rue de L'Epinette, the enemy" was 
active with snipers and trench mortars--in the centre 
things were verv quiet. "C" Company (Hawley) 
and " B " Cmpany" (Tomson) were in Support in the 
old fo,nt line; Battalion Headquarters lived in Loisne 
Chateau, nw '" Railhead " for the light railwav. There 
was no front line in the old sense--it was simply 
" outposts " as laid doxn in lVield Service Regulations. 
Verv fev of the Company Oflqcers had had anx previous 
experience of this vork, but Çolo.nel \Vood soon put 
us straight, and organized things himself. He was 
absolutelv indefatigable and dav and night vas up in 
the line sighting good positions and studying the enemv. 
The latter were distinctlv alert as thev sho«ved bv their 
behaviour on the 2Ith and 2ath hen xe not onlv made 
no pnogress, but had several casualties. First, on the 
extreme right, an " A " Company patrol tried to recon- 
noitre the Epinette East Post bv night. Thev were 
seen and fired at heavilv and had to corne back leaving 
one of their number dead behind them. Soon after- 
wards, in an attempt to recover his body, Lance- 
Serieant Camp was himself hit and died a few bors 
later. "A "" Compan 3 could ill afford to lose this 
N.CO., who had shown himself as gallant a leader in 
battle, as he was an efficient instructor on the Parade 
Ground. The following morning, accompanied bv 
his runner, Lance-Ç,orporal C<yltins, and the Adjutant, 
the Commanding Officer started on a tour round the 
utpost line. He visited "A " Cmpany's posts and 
passed on to " D " Cmpan.v. On reaching the Rue 
du Bos he «ot on to the road, and, as it was mistv, 
started to walk \Vestward along it. \Vhether the little 


party was seen or not will never be kno.wn; what 
happened would seem to show th-at they were. They 
had not gone seventy yards belote a " whizz-bang " 
burst a feu" yards North of the road htting a Stretcher 
Bearer. An.other followed, this time the burst xvas 
only a few vards behind the party. The others escaped, 
but Colonel ¥ood was hit in the back of the head and 
vas thr, ocn stunned on to the road. M, ore shells 
f, ollowed, and the three lav in a ditch till it was over, 
and then ruade their wav back to Battalion Head- 
quarters. The Colonel refused to be carried and walked 
ail the way to the Aid Post, where the Doctor round 
that a shell splinter had grazed the back of his skull, 
and had onlv been prevented bv the steel helmet from 
doing more damage. The Colonel wis.hed to remaln 
with the Battalion, but the Medlcal Oftàcer was 
obdurate, and he was finally evacuated, and a week 
later sent to England. He had been in Command onlv 
a short rime, but we had learnt in that rime what a verv 
gallant soldier he was, and how his one care was to 
m.ake us the first Battalion in the Division. His place 
was taken bv Major J. L. Griffitls vho had been Second 
in Command since 1916, while Captain John Burnett 
took over the latter's duties. 
The saine afternoon we had further bad luck. On 
the extreme left No. 13 Platoon (Christy) had been verv 
activelv sniping the enemv on the Cailloux Road, and 
s-oon after midday, came the retaliation in the form of 
heavy shelling which lasted about an hour. There was 
little cover, and one post was wiped out, including a 
promîsing young soldier, Lance-Corporal Harries, 
whose naine had been recommended for a Cmmission. 
2nd Lieut. Christv managed, in spite of the diftàculty of 


moving men in da)light, to get the majority of his 
Platoon out of the Keep, and took up posi,tions on either 
flank; this action undoubtedlv saved many casualties. 
Corporal Hamill, one of the old soldiers of the 
Battal.ion and a well-k.nown long distance runner, was 
killed at the saine time. The Platoon was naturallv 
rather shaken, and its place was therefore taken by a 
l'latoon of "C " Company. The following night we 
were relieved by the Sherwood Foresters and went back 
to Vaudrioourt. The Relief was carried out without 
interference from the enemy except for Battalion Head- 
quarter Officers, who had to leave Lois,ne Chateau at 
the gallop. Salvoes of whizz-bangs were arriving at 
frequent inter-vals, and there was just time to mount 
and gallop 300 y.ards down the road between the bursts. 
The next six days at Vaudricourt were delightful; 
we all needed a test, and the weather for once was 
excellent. At this time Major General ¥. Thwaites, 
C.B., who had Commanded the Division since 1916, 
was appointed Director of Military Intelligence at the 
Var Office, and his place was taken by Maior General 
G. F. Boyd, C.M.G., D.S.O., D.C.M. It is impossible 
even nw to estimate all that General Thwaites did for 
the Division, and it was ver5.' bad luck for him that 
he had to leave iust at the time when the Division was 
to reap the fruits of his training. He took us over after 
the Gommecourt battle, and we were tired and weak, 
as is to be expected after heavy casualties; if he had 
staved another month he would bave seen us doing as 
no Division had done before. There are manv of us 
who would cheerfullv hav.e been " crumped " to escape 
a " G.O.C.'s Inspection," but we have lived to be 
hankful even for these; thev m.ade out Pla.toon and 
Company organisation perfect. 


On the 30th we all went and listened to a lecture on 
Co-operation with Tanks, given bv an Ol5cer vho had 
taken part in the recent fighting down South. It was a 
bloodthirsty and blood-curdling recital, and at the end 
of it we ail felt ready for an enorm, ous battle, provided 
we could have a tank or two to help. The folloving 
da)', being the Brigade Boxing Tournament Finals, 
some of the N.C.O.'s and men got an opportunity of 
slaking thcir battl.e lust. This they did verv success- 
fully, as at the end of the dav we were equal with the 
5th Lincolns, who had previously alwavs been winners. 
Serjeants D.'ardl, e, Ptes. " Iat " Moore and Martin, ail 
won their weights, and iu addition Serjeant Vardle won 
the open catch weight championship. This N.C.O. 
then chaIlenged an)' one of th.e 5th Lincolns' side to 
fight a " one round " deciding bout, and, beating his 
opponent, won the dav for the Battalion. The 
Brigadier gave avav the prizes and also the Sports Cup 
xhich we had won. There xvas a verv gratifying 
predominance of " velloxv rings " throughout this part 
of the proceedings. 
The following dav--the 1st of September--we 
returned to trenches, and went into support with 
Battali.on Headquarters in Le (uesnoy and the Com- 
panies in and around Gorre village. As the new 
Divisional Commander had hot vet arrived Brigadier 
General Roxvlev xvas still in command of the Division 
and Lieut. -Colonel Foster, of the 4th Battalion, 
eommanded the Brigade. The Germans were with- 
drawing verv slowly, and bv the .3rd the Staff decided 
that as soon as the 5th Lincolnsh,ires had gained " Rum 
Corner" on the Rue du Bois, where the Boche had a 
s.trong pill box, we should go forward xvith a barrage 


uith Princes' Road as o.ur objective. Orders did no,t 
arri,e until after midday and then Rum Corner had not 
fallen ; it was, h,owever, expected to fall by t-0 p.m., 
and out attack was ordered for 8-0 p.m. the saine 
evening. There was no time for reconnaissance and 
little for getting out ord.ers, but we m.anaged to arrange 
for an assemblv position and a barrage, which was to 
advance in iumps of 100yds. every ! minutes. Every- 
body had a hurried tea and set out between 5-0 p.m. 
and 6-0 p.m. for the line. It was not ver}" satisfactory 
and we were ail glad when, owing to the stout 
resistance of Rum Corner the advance was postponed 
until 5-15 the following morning--th, e 4th of September. 
It was a warm night and the Companies remained in 
the trenches round Loisne and were able to bave a good 
meal before starting. Late that night the 5th Lineoln- 
sbires reported the taking of the " Corner," so that all 
was nov ready for tbe battle. V'e dld not expect 
much resistance. Shortly belote midnight fresh orders 
arrived making o.ur objective the old breastwork 
through Tube Station and Factorr Post (the support 
line in 1915). If possible we were to push patrols on 
to the old British front line in front of Fine. Cour 
D'Avoué a.nd Fm,e. du Bois. 
Soon after !-0 a.m. we were ail in out assembly 
p.ositionsthe three attacking Companies along a line 
running N. and S. about 300 yards E. of Epinette 
R,oad, with out left iust North of Rue du Bois; the 
Support Company 100 vards behind them. "D " 
Company (Brooke) was on the rlght with orders to 
protect that flank, if necessarr facing right to do so as 
tb,ev advanced, "A " Company (Petch) was in the 
centre, and " B "' Company (Pierrepon.t) left, astride the 


Rue du Bois, " C " Company (Hawley) was in support. 
Battalion Headquarters were in Epinette East Post 
vith an Orderly Room and rear Headquarters in Loisne. 
About an hour belote we were due to start a curious 
tking happened: It was suddenly discovered that a 
onsiderable n,umber o.f the 5th Linco,ln.shires xvere now 
some distance E. of out " jumping off line," and con- 
seque'ndy beyond where the barrage was due to start. 
The Brigadier tried to get the bar.rage advanced, but it 
WarS f.oun¢t impotssible to tell the Artillery in time, and 
in the end the Lincoln,shires, muc.h t.o their disgust, had 
to be withdraxvn. As their leadin,g men had gone as far 
as Princes' Road, it did hot look as though we should 
h,ave much opposition that far at all events. 
Promptly at B-lB a.m. the barrage came down and 
the advance began. Princes' Road was reached and 
crossed, the breastwork was round empty, and, after 
a sh,ort pause in the latter, the right centre Cornpanies 
went on to the old front line. The left Cmpany had 
slightly more difficult ground, and arrived half-an-hour 
later; nowhere had a German been met, though one or 
tvo had been s'een making for the Aubers Ridge. It 
was a bloodless xictory, and by 7-0 a.rn. the Battalion 
was occupying the idential sector that it occupied in 
1915. The barrage had n,ot been needed, but it was 
none the less verv useful, for ve all learn¢ ho.w close we 
could keep and how to judge the " lifts." Consclida- 
ti,on was hot a diflïcult rnatter except on the right flank, 
where we could hot until evening get touch with the 
155th Division. h was consequently neces.sary for " D " 
Cornpany to swing back their through Tube 
S.ta.tion ,and Dead Cow Post and face South. On the 
left Colonel Currin with his Sherxood Foresters was in 

GOlf.RE AND E.'.¢S.\R.'4 AT .VAR. 275 

touch with us at the Factorv Keep. Batta[ion Head- 
quarters mov.ed up just belote midday to a small shelter 
200 yards west of Princes' Road. In most of the 
captured dug-outs the following notice was found :-- 
Dear Tommy,-- 
¥ou are weh.ome to all we are leaving, vheJa we 
stop we shall stop, and stop you in a manner vou 
w, on't appreciate. FRTZ. 
It was neatlv printed in English block capitals and 
caused much amusement. Th,e whol.e dav was in a 
way one great ioke--the un-needed barrage, the empty 
trenches, these farewell notices, ail combined to make 
us very happy. 
At first we thought we were going to be let off 
without anv retaliation at ail, but the foItowing morning 
at " stand to " a fairly heavy barrage came down for 
hall-an-bout on the breastwork support line--presum- 
ably to break up any intended attack. " B " Co.mpany 
Headquarters most unluckily received a direct hit 
causing six casualties. Txvo Serieants who could iii 
be spared, A. Cross and E. Bottom[ev were both badly 
vounded, the latter mortally; two servants, C. Payne 
and L. Brotheridge, were wounded hot verv seriously, 
and the two runners, G. S. Bott and G. Dewsburv were 
hit, Bott so badly that he died in Hospital. These two 
runners, in.separable friends, had long been associated 
with " B '" Company Headquarters, and had alwavs 
don.e yeoman servioe, for there was probably never a 
better pair. In the afternoon orders came that we 
sho.uld be relieved at dusk bv the 19th Division, but 
that we must be certain that we were in to.uch xvith the 
enemy when over. Accordingly orders xvere- 
sent up to Captain Petch to trv and locate the exact 


position of the enemy. At first th.e patrol sent out was 
unable to draxv tire, so, taking C.S.M. Passmcre, Serjt. 
Boxvler and others with him, Captain Petch went cut 
himself, and the two waved their arms and shouted tc 
imaginary platoons to make the enemy think an attack 
vas coming. The ruse was successful, a machine gun 
opened tire from close quarters. The two dropped into 
a shell hole and started to crawl their wav back; there 
was plenty of cover, and if they had been patient all 
vould have been well. Unfortun.atelv C.S.M. Passmore 
thinking it xvas sulî]cientlv dark, got up a.nd walked 
tozards our lines. He was hit and killed outright. 
This warrant officer joined us at Gommecourt in 1917; 
his energy and fearlessness at once bvought him to the 
front, and he soon rose from Serjeant to be Company- 
Serjeant-Major. His place in "A " Company was 
taken by Serjean.t Vardle, of " C " Company. As soon 
as they were relieved Companies marched to Loisne 
Chateau, where they xvere to entrain. Trains were not 
ready, but after a long wait, the xvell-nigh frantic 
eff, orts cf Captain Schiller p:vcduced them, muh 
to everybody's delight, and somewhere about midnight 
we marched back to Vaudricourt Park. 
Tvo days later the new Major-General was intro- 
duced to us, and at once won his way to out hearts by 
his xvonderful charm of manner. He must bave been 
surprised to sec outside the mess a line of horses 
and mules all waiting saddled up. ¥e had arranged 
an officers' paper chase and every officer attended ; those 
who couldn't find chargers had perforce to ride mules. 
The hares (Captain Burnett on " Mrs. Vilson " and 
2/Lieut. Todd on the friskv black) were given ten 
minutes' grace and then, led by " Sunloch " (Lieut.- 


Colonel Griffiths " up ") the rest of us swung out of 
the Park and off toxvards Labuissière. The pace was 
verv hot and rnost of us soon dropped behind, though 
the mules, kee,ping as usual all together and led by 
Padre Buck, rnanaged to stay the wh.le course. Four 
riders, finding they were getting left behind, started to 
rnake a short cut through Hesdigneul and there on the 
village green met tbe hares on the way home. It xvas 
a drarnatic moment xvitnessed by large crowds of 
gunners, and Lieut. Brodribb on the Col.onel's pony, 
and Lieut. Hawley on the faithful and xvell-intentioned 
" Charrie," dashed after the hares. The effect, 
however, xvas sornewhat spoilt by "Lady Sybil," unused 
no doubt to audiences, throwing the Ad]utant over her 
head on to the rniddle of the green. The hares were 
finallv cauglt after a 9-mlle run within a few hundred 
yards of home. It was a great performance. 
Our stav at Vaudric,ourt was not a long one, and we 
s.oon rn, oved to Béthune, preparatory to entrainrnent for 
the South, for it was noxv no longer a secret that xve 
xvere going down to fight a real battle at last. The 
nexv General intro.duced a " Blob " formation, xvhich 
was both easy and effective, and we practised this once 
or txvice outside the town. Our first line transport was 
also reorganised in such a way that each Cornpany had 
its own two l{rnbers with Lew;s Guns and arnrnunition, 
bornbs and all necessaries. On one srnall Field Day 
the Signallers with their flags turned out as Tanks, and 
we practised everythi,ng as realisticallv .as possible. \Ve 
were ail verv keen, and better still, verv fit; in fact, 
the Battalion never looked in better f, orrn than on one 
of these training days when we rnarched past the 


From the 9th to the llth of September we remained 
in Béthune, a depressing town now, to those of us who 
had known it in its davs of prosperity. \Ve managed 
to bave che very good concert in the Barracks and it 
vas surprising hov much really good talent we found, 
conjuror, humourists and sentimental singer were ail 
readv to amuse us. At midnight ll/12th we fell in on 
the l'arade Ground and marched to Chocques--the 
irrepressible Drums giving us che or two tunes on the 
way. It rained hard at the Station and there was a 
terrible shortage of accommod.atin. At length, vith 
much shoving, swearing and puddle-splashing ve got 
on bo.ard, an.d at 4-0 a.m. left the Béthune Area. \Ve 
had been on the Lens-La Bassée Sector for seventeen 
months : ve never saw it again. 



14th Sept., 1918. 25th Sept., 1918. 
Ot'R journey Southwards was uncomfortable and 
uneventful. The onlv remarkable feature vas the 
acrobatic skill displayed bv the mess staff, transferring 
meals from the kitchen-cattle-truck to the officers mess- 
cattle-truck. Even at the usual speed of a French troop 
train, it is no easy task to drop off the train w]th a 
pile of plates in one hand, a dish of potatoes in the 
other, walk fast enough to catch up the carriage in 
front, and, in spite of signal wires, sleepers and 
o.ther pitfalls, deliver ail safelv at the " Mess." Yet 
this was done not once but often. Vv'e spent the wh<le 
day in the train passing St. Pol, Amiens, and Corbie, 
=and finally towards evening reached Ribemont, where 
we round our billeting party wai.ting f<r us. Billets 
consisted of some distant dug-outs across a swampy 
recto.r, and the recent rains had ruade what few tracks 
there were too slippery for the horses. It was ail verv 
unpleasant, and we spent a cold and cheerless nigh.t. 
"' A " Company, which had renmined at Cocques doing 
1.oading duties, did hot arrive until m,idnight--very wet 
and tired. 
The ne:t da 5, was bright and warm, and we soon 
¢liscovered that the two villages, Treux and Buire would 


hold Headquarters and half the Battalion, so rnoved 
into then xithout delay and cvacuated ail except the 
more sumptuous and easily approached dug-outs. We 
were now fa.irlv comfortable, and o,ur only grouse was 
the abs.ence of anv canteen or even French civilians for 
mlles and toiles, and the consequent lack of tobacco, 
beer and other little luxuries. 
Out more had brought us into General Rawlinson's 
Fourth Army', and, as we were apparently hot needed 
at once for a battle, we started vigonous training. 
Route marches, and even " field-firing " practices were 
carried out, and there xvas one b.ig Divisional Field 
day, which ended triumphantly with the Brigade and 
Battal.ion Staffs picking rnushrooms on the final 
objective. Meanxvhile the Second in Command's 
Department under Major Burnett fixed up baths and 
other comforts for us and, bv the 18th of Septernber, 
ve were reallv verv comfortable. This same dav we 
were ordered to more at short notice. 
Motor lorries took us on to the main Amiens road at 
Corbie, and turning East along it we jolted and bumped 
and splashed out wav through Brie-sur-Somme to 
Tertry. The countrv--what we could see of it in the 
dark--seemed to consist of a barren waste of shell 
h3.1e.s wath here and there a shattered tree o.r the remains 
of some burnt-out Tank standing forlornlv near some 
dark and stagnant swamp. Villages were practically 
n.on-existent, and Tertrv was no exceptk3n, but we scion 
settled down under waterproof sheets, corrugated iron 
and a few old bricks. The transport under Maior 
Burnett and Serjt. Yeabslev came ail the wav bv road, 
and arrived some h¢3urs later; but much of our stores 
had to be left behind with two storemen in Buire. 


Manv efforts were ruade during the following months 
to retrieve these stores, but it was no.t until after the 
armistice that xve were finallv succêssful. 
We were now IXth. Corps, and found our neighbours 
wêrê old friênds from thê Bthune arêa--the Ist and 6th 
Divisions. The Transport lines and " battle details " 
of th,e Ist and l lth Battalions of the Rêgimênt wêrê 
quite close to us, and we paid several calls. On the 
20th, Captains Tol-nso.n and Banwell returned from 
leave, much to the delight of thei,r Companies, for the 
following dav we went into trenches, reIieving the 
14th and 45th Australians in the Hindenburg Outpost 
line, tha,t thev had so briIliantlv captured a few davs 
before. V'e were in Brigade support aLong Ascension 
Ridge, called after a farm of that naine, and the other 
two Battalions held the line in front of us. 
In their attack, the Australians had pushed forward 
further than anvone else, wh[le the English troops on 
their right, after some verv hard fighting, had been 
held up bv the village of Pontruet. Cnsequently there 
was a sharp bend in the line, and tbe Australian right 
flank, though on high .round, was somewhat exposed. 
The line ran roughly as follows :-- 

" I-.A t r,,r _.  r',,t 

L I I't E 


The enemy still held posts on the ridge close to the 
Australian front line, and were known to bave several 
posts in Forgan's trcnch, which was the Southward 
conthauation of out front line across the valley. 
Pontruet was overlooked from everywhere, and con- 
stantly bombarded bv o.ur Artillery', soit did not seem 
likely that it held many Boche. The Sherwo,od 
Foresters held thc right of the Divisional line and 
joined with the 1st 1)ivisin on the high ground South 
of the village. There was no sign of any intended 
operation, and it ccrtainlv looked as if we could not 
more until the troops on out right had advanced. 
Accordingly on the nd the Adjurant rode back to 
Brie to go on leave. Capt. Banwell, reallv a " battle 
detail," went up to assist the Headquarters, while the 
other " deta.ils "--Major Burnett, Captain Petch, Lieut. 
l'ierrepont, -nd Lieuts. Edwardes, Griffiths, Taylor, 
C.S.M.'s Cooper and Martin--remained with the Q.M. 
No sooner had the Adjutant gone, than orders came 
for a battle. At dawn on the Jth the Division on 
our right was going to advance, and the J6th Division, 
bv wav o. assisting them, was to capture l'ontruct and 
hold Forgan's trench as a final objective. The 13Sth 
Brigade were chosell for this fi.hl, and General Rowley 
decided to use one Battalion onlv--ourselves. We were 
to attack thc village from the rear, bv advancing into 
the vallev from the North and then turning ,Vest, 
while one Company" turnin.g East would capture and 
hold Forgan's. There xvas little rime for preparation, 
so Colonel Griffith,s callcd a Company Çommanders' 
meeng, reconn,oitred the village from above and 
decided on his plan of attack. At the saine rime a 


runner was sent after the Adjutant, and round him just 
boarding the leave train. It vas a near thing, but hot 
for anything would he have missed the next few weeks. 
The Colonel's plan was as follows :--To assemble 
the Battal.ion i, lines of platoons in fours facing So.uth, 
just behind the right of our front line. " A " would be 
on the right, "D " on the left. At Zero ail would 
more forward wth a barrage, kceping about 50 vards 
distance and interval bctween platoons. Ail would cross 
the Bellenglise road and finaily, when the leading 
platoons were lcvel with the farther, i.e., South, edge 
of l'ontruet, " A " and "' B " would turn to the right, 
sweep through and reform on the \\:est side of it. 
" D "" would turn left and capture Forgan's trench, 
having a platoon of "C " Company to help them. 
The rest of " C " would assist which evcr party seemed 
to be in difficulties. The Headquarters would move to 
the high ground, whence the fight ,ould be vis.ible, 
and there was everv hope of opening signal communica- 
tion with the attacking Companies. Artil[erv arrange- 
ments were made accordingly, and bombardments 
ordered for the'supposed posts in Forgan's. Un- 
forttmately, much against out wishes, and in opposition 
o the Br-igadier's scheme, a h.eavv smoke barrage was 
to be placed on the \Vestern edge of the village. A 
West wind would make this a thick bla,ket and 
sefiousl hinder our advance, and \\'est winds are verv 
common; however, we could hot alter this part of the 
scheme. The Sherw.ood Foresters ere ordered to 
assist by pushing up to the v.illage a/fret we had 
oaptured it. Zero would be 5-0 a.m. on the 2-[th of 
As s,oon as it was dark on the 2:rd, Captain Banwell 


taped out a "jumping off" line for the leading 
plato.ons. There was some unpl.easant shelling at the 
time, but he completed his task successfuIly, and also 
taped out the route to th,is assemblv position. At mid- 
night, relieved by the 6th South Staffordshires (Lister), 
we mached off after an issue of h, ot tea and rum to 
the assembly ground, leaving great coats behind and 
wearing fighting order. On arrival we round that the 
Lincolnshires had been raided in their North end of 
Forgan's trench a short time belote, and, as there 
might still be some of the enemy near the trench, " D " 
Company were ordered to form up in it, instead of on 
the top. It was hot a dark night, and had xve been 
seen assembling ail would have been lost. There was 
s,ome shelling, and Lieut. Brodribb, command- 
ing " A " Company, was wounded in the leg. He had 
it dressed at the R.A.P., and, find,ing he could still 
walk, rejoined his Company belote the advanee began. 
Ii1 absolute silence we lav in shell holes waiting for 
Zero. A mist had started to blow up from the valley, 
and the Battalion was almost invisible. Here and 
there a few heads, the muzzle of a Lewis gun, the end 
of a stretcher might be seen just above the ground, 
and occasionally one could see the tall figure of Capt. 
Tomson, imperturbable as ever, walking quletly round 
his Company wlth a word of encouragement for all. As 
the time went on, the mist became thicker and thicker, 
and bv -t-50 a.m. platoons and Companies were unable 
to see each other. The shelling had ceased, it was 
very quiet. 
Punctuallv at 5-0 a.m. the barrage opened, and the 
advance started. The timing of the ArtiIle D- was 
perfect and, with the road to guide them, " A " Coin- 


pany on the right swept across the Bellenglise road, 
k,eeping close to the barrage. By 5-14 a.m. No. 1 
Platoon (Quint), which was leading, was ready for the 
righ,t turn. The rest of this Company followed, and, 
though No. 4 Platoon (Dennis) slightly l.ost direction 
for a time, they soon regained their place, so that the 
whle Company vas ready to turn together. It was 
still hall dark, and, as we had feared, the smoke 
barrage blew across and shrouded us in a thick blanket 
of fog. During their advance, "A " Co.mpany had 
found the machine gun and rifle tire v.erv hot from their 
left flank, apparently fvom Forgan's trench, and had 
already lost Serjt. P. Bouvier, who was killed outright. 
Thev had met no enemv outside the village, and could 
hot see more than a few vards through the smoke. The 
other Companies were out of sight. 
Turning into Pontruet, " A " Company round it full 
of the enemv. Odd lengths of trenches here and there, 
cellars in everv direction were filed with bombers and 
machine gun teams, some facing West, others, vho had 
realised out intentions, facing East. Led by Lieut. 
Brodribb and their platoon commanders, "A " Com- 
pany" dashed in with the bayonet. Here and there a 
bomb was thlovn do«vn a cellar, or a Le,vis gun turned 
against party which res.isted, but for the m.ost part 
the bavonet xvas the weapon of the dav. The enerny 
were scattered, a few tried to fight, but large numbers 
were killed trying to escape, while 120 were captured, 
and 50 more driven into the Sherwod Foresters' lines. 
The work on the North side was the easiest. Here, 
small parties led bv 2nd Lieut., who xvas 
slightly xvounded, C.S.I. Wardle, Serjt. Toon, and 
others carrled ail before them, cleared the lower road 



and the cemeter.v, and formed up outside the N.,V. 
corner, where thev were joined bv their Company 
Commande r. 
In the centre there was more fighting, and while 
L/Cpls. l)owns and Starbuck and Pte. Meakin led their 
parties through with tremendous dash, one Lewis Gun 
secti.on under Dakin, a " No. 1 " Lewis Gunner, round 
itself held up by a strong German post. The " No. 2 " 
was killed, and Dakin himself was shot through both 
thihs almost at once, so that there was no one left 
to work the gun. However, Hyden, an untrained 
soldier, came forward and fired the gun, while Dakin, 
bleeding fveelv and with b<th thighs broken, lay beside 
him and corrected stoppages, until he succumbed to his 
The Company's heaviest losses were on the Southern 
or upper side of the village. For, in the S.,V. corner, 
the Germans had two lengths of well defended trench, 
suppovted by a block ho,use, and against these 2nd. 
Lieuts. Aster and Quint and Corporal Tvers led their 
men. The two officers were killed almost together at 
the second trench, but the Corporal broke clean 
through, only to be shot through the head when almost 
outside the village. Seven others of this saine gallant 
party were killed at this corner, and the remainder, 
unable to deal with the blockhouse, fought their wav 
through to the main part of the Company. 
Meanwhile, the rest of the Battalion had been far 
less fortunate, and, with no ro,ad to guide them, had 
been baffled bv the fog. 2nd Lieut. Lewin and Serjt. 
Harrison with a small party of " B " Company crossed 
the valley and, turning right, follwed No. 1 Platoon 
into the Southern hall of the village. They were too 


small a body Io clear the bl.ockhous.e co.rner, and first 
Serjt. Harrison, then 2nd Lieut. Lewin were killed as 
they gallantly tried to get forward. Two others of 
their men were lait, and the test were scattered. 
One platoon of "B " Company remained intact. 
2nd Lieut. Co,sgrove, finding he could hot keep direction 
and advance at the required pace, dropped behind. 
Sto.pping everv few vards to take a co.mpass bearing, 
this officer finally brought his platoon to its allo,tted 
turning point and entered the village. Following the 
lower road, the platooa split i, nto txo halves and 
"' mopped up " anytling left by " A " Company, 
making sure that the whole of this side of the village 
was absolutely clear of the enemy. 2nd Lieut. Cosgrove 
with his two sections joined Lieut. Brodribb outside 
the village. Corporal Barber with his Lewis gun 
section took up a positio.n inside near the Cemetery. 
The test of " B " Company and the left hall Battalion 
fared badlv. Forgan's trench, supposed to be held by 
a few odd posts, was strongly manned from end to end. 
It was wired in front and lateral belts had been placed 
at frequent intervals across it. It would h,ave been a 
stiff task for a Company to take it with a direct frontal 
attack; to " work up " it was impossible. None the 
less, " D " Company (Brooke) did their utmost. Led 
by their Co.mpany Commander in person, the Company 
left the trench at Zero and started to work along it. 
There was wire everywhere, and the going was verv 
bad on to.p, so that many men o,f the rear platoons 
dro.pped back into the trench and ruade their way along 
it--a fatal mistake. On nearing the Bellenglise fo:ad 
this Company was met with a perfect hurricane of 
machine gun bullets from three guns in a nest near the 


road. Captain Brooke was hit but co.ntinued to lead 
his men, and, ably backed bv Serjt. Darby, ruade a 
gallant attempt to rush the positi,on. The men still in 
the trench could give no assistance, and though two 
prisoners were taken the rush failed, and the German 
machine guns remained unharmed. Captain Brooke 
was twice hit again and with -'2nd Lieuts. Sloper and 
Buckley, who were both xvounded, had to leave the 
fight. Serjt. Darby and L/Cpl. Smi,th had been killed 
close to the enemy's guns, Serjeant Sull,ivan was 
wounded, and for the moment the Company was leader- 
less. Lieut. Corah came up to take command, but by 
the time he reached the h.ead o,f the Company it was 
too late to act, and Fo.rgan's trench remained full of 
the enemy. 
The occupants of Forgan's, mostlv machine gunners, 
appear to bave realised almost at once the direction 
of our attack, and opened a hot tire on out left flank 
as we crossed the Bellenglise road and set off across 
the valley. "A " Company felt tlis severely, but far 
more severe were the losses of "C " Company and 
those platoons of " B " which did rot make their turn 
into the village. These were nearer to Forgan's 
trench, and both lost heavilv. The mist and smoke 
were ve.ry thick, connecting files were useless, and 
the various officers, collecting what men they could find, 
rnade their wav as far as possible in the right direction. 
Lieut. Hawlev xvith the bulk of " C " Company round 
a few of the enemv still in the Eastern end of Pontruet, 
turned them out, and occupied a trench along the edge 
of the village, facing East. Further South along this 
saine trench another party of " C " under Lieut. Steel 
rnade use of a small o,ad bridge, and took up a position 


facing the saine way. The test of the Company 
foll.owed Lieut. Barrett and Serjt. Spencer and reached 
the far side of the valley, being joined on the xvay by 
some of " B " Company. A few vards up the bank on 
the Southern side, Lieut. Barrett round to lais surprise 
a trench across lais route. The fog was still thick, and 
this puzzled him--it had bcen newlv dug during the 
night--but, as it was full of Germans, he rushed if, 
got inside, and turncd towards F.organ's. He was lait 
doing so. Forgan's, this part)', in whicb 
Scrjcant Spencer was conspicuous, quickly disposed 
of three German machine gun pos.ts and their teams, 
but vere thon thcmselves fired at and bombed from 
several directions. Undeterred, Lieut. Barrett, though 
again voundcd, drew his revolver and xvith it held up 
one bombing party, while Serjeant Spencer dealt with 
another. A bomb burst close to Lieut. Barrett's pistol 
arm and put it out of actif.n, and by this time he was 
becoming exhausted. Calling his N.C.O.'s together, 
h.e explained what happcned and gave them careful 
directions as to how to get out, himself quite calm the 
whole time. Acting on his instructions, those of the 
party who were left eut their vav out; Lieut. Barrett, 
refusing h.elp, started to crawl through the wlre, and 
xvas again woundcd. He evcntuallv reached the R.A.P. 
literaIIv c,overed ith wounds. Co.ntrarv to the 
I)octor's expectat.ions, however, he hot only lived to 
receive his Victo,ria Cross, but soon ruade a complete 
At the saine time, Captain Tomson, finding his C_,om- 
pany now consisted onlv of his signallcrs, runners, and 
batmen, and unable to find out where the test had gonc, 
determined to try and rush the machine guns hich 

PoNTRUET. .'29l 

were keeping up such a steadv tire close to his left flank. 
His little party forced their wav through som.e wire and 
round themselves opposed bv three guns. \Vith a 
shout of " Corne along Tigers, show them what you 
can d,o," Captain Tomson led them straight at the 
enemv. Two of the gun teams were overcome, but 
the third could not be reached, and fired at them point 
blank. L/Cpl. Signaller J. Smith was wounded and 
fell, Cptain Tomson, bending down to fie him up, 
was shot through the head. Onh" two men got away, 
leaving their leader, now dcad, iii a small shelter outside 
the trench. Smith, m.ortallv wounded, refused to be 
taken away, saying " Leave me with Captain Tomson, 
I shall be ail right"--and there he died next to hls 
Company Commander. So perished the kindest hearted 
and bravest gent!eman that ever commanded a Com- 
pany in the Regiment. Calm, c,heerful, with a friendlv 
ord for ail, Captain Tomson was the father of his 
men, and a warm friend to his brother officers and 
N.C.O. 's. 
Bv 6-30 a.m. it was daylight, but the fog and smoke 
still lav like a thick blanket along the valley, hidin the 
village and ail that was going on there. It was not 
until 7-45 a.m. that the wind blew this away, and we 
were at last able to sec how we had fared. The village, 
with the exception of the blo¢khouse corner, was in 
out hands. "C " Company were holding more than 
hall its Eastern side, while "A " and part of "B '" 
had reformed after the attack and were dug in just 
outside the N.V. corner. The onh" troops actuallv in 
Pontruet were those with Corpl. Barber at the Ceme- 
terv. The rond leading \\'est from the village was 
thronged with prisoners and stretcher bearers making- 


t.heir way towards the large crater on the main road, 
used as a Company Headquarters by the Sherwood 
Fores.ters. Captain Jack had esoEablished his Aid Post 
at the bcttom o.f the little valley running down to the 
road, and here, helped by the never-tiring Padre Buck, 
xvas busilv empl,oyed with our wounded. 
In Forgan's trench there vas a deadlock. Across 
the vallev and on the Southern slopes it was still full 
o.f the enemy, who had manv machine guns. Daylight 
ruade an attack over the open bv "D " Company 
impossible, for as soon as anyone was s.een to leave our 
lines he was at once fired upon. Every effort xvas marie 
xvith bombs and rilte grenades to dislodge the German 
machine gunners fro.m their posts on the main road, 
but, though Serjts. Marston and Haynes and L/Cpl. 
Thurman did their utmost, no progress could be ruade. 
Here, therefore, "D " Company h,ad to stay through- 
out the da)', almost poxverless to help, except by 
harassing the enemy with stokes mortars from the high 
ground. \Vith daylight, the enemv also had complete 
command of the Eastern edge of Pontruet, and Lieuts. 
Hawley and Steel had to lie very quiet; the slightest 
m.ov.ement attracted the attention o.f the snipers in 
Foran 's. 
At 8-0 a.m. the battle xvas prac,tically at a standstill, 
and the C.O. sent the Adiutant forxvard to see what 
could be done to improve o,ur position. The enemv's 
artillery xvas now farlv quiet, and, exeept for the one 
machine gun post near the blockhouse, there seemed to 
be no Germans in Pontruet. "A" and "B" Com- 
panies had exhausted all their and Lexvis gun 
ammuniti.n in their efforts to capture this one post, 
but had failed, and our o.nlv hope was now that a 1st 

PONTR( ET. 293 

Divisional Tank would doit for us. This Tank xvas 
seen coming up fro.m the \Vest, and, to attract its,n, we waved our helmets on our rifles. It turned 
towards us, but suddenlv broke dox,n, and soon after- 
wards was put completely out of acoEion. 
At the saine time, efforts were ruade to signal to 
Battalion Headquarters for ammun.iti,o.n, but the signal 
apparatus had all been destroved in the fight. The onlv 
flag available was one of the " red, white and black " 
Regimental flags, which the Adjutant happened to have 
in pocket, and th.ough this vas vigorously waved, 
it could not be seen. A runner had to be sent instead. 
Meanwhile, though we had practically cleared the 
village of the enemy, we were not, as far as we knew 
at the VV'estern end of it, holding it verv strongly. The 
only post known to "A " Cornpany was Corporal 
Barber's at the Çemeterv. " C " i Cornpany were 
supposed to be " somewhere at the o.ther end," but no 
.one quite knew where. However, with Corporal 
Barber was a " C " Company soldier--Coles--who 
undertook to find his wav back to his Çompany. Out 
idea was to forma line through the village at once, 
and, when amrnun{tion arrived, push the line through to 
the far side. Coles round " C " Çompany, but so ho,t 
was the sniping ff.oto Forgan's, that anv idea of moving 
men in that direction had to be aband.oned, at anv rate 
until darkness. Coles himself was unable to return, 
so that the exact position of " Ç " Company was never 
known at Headquarters. 
On the return of the Adjurant, Battalion Head- 
quarters moved up to the valley next the R.A.P. At 
the saine time a large supply of amnmnition and bombs 
was brought up as far as the crater. Colonel Griffiths 


himself set off to visit " A " Company, but he had not 
gone many yards along the road belote he was heavily 
sniped bv the enemv machine gunners. The latter had 
established several posts on the high gro.und S.E. of 
Pontruet, and were now makiaag the road impassable. 
For a long time th.e Col,onel, making us.e of shell h.oles, 
tried to make his wav to the village, but every time he 
was " spcCted " and finallv he had to return. Ammuni- 
tion carrying parties lost very heavily and never got 
near out companies ; th.e village seemed to be completely 
cut off from us. To add to out discomfort the enemv's 
artillerv was again active and gas shells xvere fired 
wherever movement was seen. The Headquarters and 
the R.A.P. were frequently bombarded. At the saine 
time the enemy's infantry started to dribble back bv 
Forgan's and the new trench, into the S.x.V. corner of 
the village, probably to counter-attack. Observers saw 
this m.ovement from the "]['umulus Ri.dge, and, as soon 
as Corpl. Barber's post ¢0'uld be withdravn, the 
suspected area was heavily sbelled by out gunners, and 
no attack developed. 
During  the aftern.oon, the Headquarters, finding that 
in their new position thev were in touch wth 
neither Brigade Headquarters nor their Companies, 
moved back to the hill-top. Captain Jack and the 
Padre remained with the R.A.P., tlough their vallev 
ws almost continuouslv shelled, and never entirely free 
from gas. The devoted work these txao did that dav 
is bey, ond description and too great for praise. 
At 4-0 p.m., as out position was materiallv 
unchanged, we received orders for a fresh advance, to 
be ruade in conjunction witb one Company of the 6th 
Sherw,oo,d Foresters. Our objeotive was to be a line 


along the Southern edge of the village, to link up with 
"C " Company, or at least to extend to where we 
imagined " C " Company to be. Captain Pink, of the 
Sherwood Foresters, commanded the Gc,mpany which 
was to help us, and no one could have worked barder 
than he did to make out advance a success, but the 
uncertainty of " C " Company's exact position, and the 
impossibility of sending them any orders, made our 
task verv diflcult. Late in the aftern,oon we at last 
got news of Lieut. Steel. In spite of shells and 
machine-gun bullets, a runner came along the main road 
from St. Hélène to the crater. This runner, Private 
F. Lane, had had to crawl 250 yards acrcss the open 
undçr direct observation, had had to kill two Germans 
before he could get clear of lhe village, and had then 
run the gauntlet of shells and bullets along the road-- 
ail this alone. Not content with having delivered his 
message, he refused to rest, and, th.ough exhausted, 
ruade his way back bv the saine wav that he had corne. 
We now knew where Lieut. Steel was under lhe bridge, 
but still we knew noth,ing of the main part of "C " 
At î-30 p.m., as it was gctting dusk, the combined 
advance started with.out a barrage. It was a big 
frontage for so small a force and parties lost touch with 
each o.ther amongst the ruins. "A " Company's left 
kept to the Sherwood Foresters, but the outer 
flanks of both were " in tbe air," for "C " Company 
could not be found. It was dark when the South side 
of the village was reached, and it was found terribly 
difficult to keep direction amongst the ruins and 
trencbes. A Lewis Gun Section, under C.S.M. YVardle, 
disposed of the only party of the enemv who were 
encountered, but the post near the Blockhouse could not 


be f.ound. Finallv at 9-0 p.m. the Sherwood Foresters 
fell back to Fourmi trench near the main road, and 
-'2nd Lieut. Dennis, now commancing "A " Company, 
ordered his platoons to return to their former positions. 
We had accomplisbed nothing. 
The original plan bad been that we should be relieved 
as s.oo.n as it was dark, but out present line was so 
uncertain that the relieving Battalion refused to take 
it over as we had it. The men were tired out, and it 
was impossible to expect them to make ano.ther attempt 
to forma line round the village. "C " Company 
were f,o,und, but too far North t.o link up with the 
others. Eventually, at -0 a.m. on the _'25th, we were 
ordered to xvithdraw ail out Ca'npanies and evacuate 
th.e v, illag:e. This we did bv 4-0 a.m. ,Vhat was left 
of the Battalion then marched back to where we had 
left out greatcoats, xvhile the Sherwood Foresters took 
ox, er the line north and west of Pontruet. The Adjutant 
saw the last parties out of the village, and the Colonel, 
th.ou,h tired out, insisted on going round the lines and 
visiting each platoon as it came in. 
The following dav we received this message frorn 
General 13ox'd :-- 
" Please conratulate Lieut.-Colonel Griffiths and 
the l/Sth Bn. Leicestershire Regiment cm the good 
fight they put up yesterday, and tell them I am quite 
satisfied. Thev captured many prisoners and 
accounted for numbers of the enemv. Owlng to 
unexpected reinforcements they attacked an enemy 
twice as strong as themselves, and moreover in a 
strong position. Although we did n,ot reach out 
objective, the enemv was prevented from reinforcing 
the troops opposed to the Division on our right. 
(sd.} G. F. BOYD, Major-General. 


\Ve had lost one Company Commander and three 
subalterns killed, one Co.mpany Commander and six 
subalterns woundêd. Of the tank and file, thirtv werê 
killed, of whom three were Serieants , one hundred were 
wounded, and eight were mlssing. But ve had proved 
that rive plato.ons could clear a village held by three 
Battalions (so said one o,f the prisoners) of the enemy; 
wê had shown that whên N.C.O.'s bêcamê casualties, 
private soldiers were rêadv to assume command and 
bêoomê leaders, and, mos.t important of all, the battlê 
had pro.ved to êach individual soldier tha.t if he went 
with his bavonet be was irresistible. 



25th Sept., 1918. 4th Oct., 1918. 
THE txxo davs following this action were spent in 
refitting and re-organizing what was left of the 
Battalion. Ail availablc officers fro.m the " battle 
details " were ordered to join us, and Captains Petch 
and Banwell resumed command of their Companies, 
while Lieuts. Hawley and Corah took over "B " and 
'" D." Mai,or Burnet/ also came up and, though we 
xvere s.till in trenches and holes in the ground, managed 
to produce hot baths for everybody. The line was very 
quiet, the weather .warm, we needed a rest, and for 
two days we h,ad it. The Brigade was to be relieved bv 
the Staffordshires on the evening of the 27th, and our 
first orders were to go into various trenches and dug- 
outs round Grand Priel Farm. These orders, how- 
ever, xvere cancelled before relief, and we were allotted 
instead a quarry and some trenches jusl North of le 
Up to the evening o.f the 26th ail had been ver3., quiet 
and there was not the slightest sign that any active 
op.era.tions were in-tended. However on this evening, 
the Transport drivers, bringing up rations, told us that 
ail the roads be,hind th,e lines were thick vith guns, 
lorries and wagg,ons, ail moving up. At th.e saine 


cime Colonel Griffiths returned frorn a Conference, with 
some orders so secret that they were told to no one. 
The folloxving dav we saw that during the n.ight many 
new barre-ries had taken up pos.i¢io,n,s o,n the Ascension 
Ridge, guns had been carefully camouflaged, men 
hidden awav in copses, and all was still very quiet. 
The saine da3-, office.fs of ancther division came up 
reconnoiteving--all with Go.nsiderable secrecy--though 
one was seen to be carrying a map with a red line on 
it, .somexx-here fo,ur toiles East o,f the St. Quentin Canal. 
The folloxing night more batteries silentlv took up 
their positions; large bomb, water and ammunition 
dumps were ruade wherever a house or copse would 
screen them from the enemv's aircraft, everything was 
being prepared for so,me giganfic enterprise. As we 
x'ent out to le Verguier, we passed sorne of the 
Staffo.rds.hires going to the front line. It was a very 
drk nigh,t, but xx'e could see that thev were carrying 
more than usual and that their equipment locked very 
bulkv. Thev xvere xvearing life belts. 
The secret could n.ow be kept no longer, and as s.o.on 
as possible orders were ruade knsvn to ail. They 
x:ere brief : " The 46th Division will on a ctrtain date, 
as part of a major operation, cross the St. Quentin 
Canal, capture the Hindenburg Line, and advance to a 
pcsi.tion on the high gr,ound East of Magny la Fosse 
and L.ehaueourt (2 miles E. of the Can,al)." 
The St. Quentin Canal, cr Canal du Nord, as it is 
called fuvther Novth, runs for the most part North and 
South. At Bellicourt, opposice the Americans, 1,000 
yards North of out sector, it ent.ers a tunnel and is for 
a eonsiderable distance underground. At Bellenglise, 
opposite the right o.f out Divisio, sector, it takes a 


_',;-harp turn to the East, and runs, past Lehaucourt and 
le Tronquo.v, for 2 mlles before again turn4ng South. 
The main Hindenburg Line followed tKe line of the 
Canal, just East of it. The Arnericans would attack 
the line above the tunnel, and North ¢zoE thern British 
Dixàsions w.ould continue the advance far to the North. 
The J,6th Divisi.on would attack with its right on 
Bellenglise, and a gap of 1,000 x'ards frorn its left to 
the Arn-ericans. South of us no attack xxould be 
necessarv; for, once ac.îoss the Canal, out right flan-k 
would be defended all the wav to le Tronquoy by the 
Canal itself and this porti.on of the Hindenburg Line, 
whic'h xx-e should " r, oll up " frorn l:he flank. Tanks 
could hot cros.s the Canal except over the tunnel at 
Bellicourt. Consequently the IXth Tank Battalion, 
allotted to our l)ivisioa for the attack, xx-ould advance 
with the Arnericans, and, once in BellicoJrt, turn south 
and joi us to assist in the advance to the village 
objectives and the heights. To the Staffordshire 
Brigade was alloted the crossing of the Cnal and the 
taking of the Hindenburg Line. Then, after a pause 
to allow the Tanks to corne round, the Sherw,od 
Foresters on the right and our Brigade on the left 
would sxx'eep on, st-ill under a barrage, to the final 
objective. We should hax-e to deal xx;ith ]3Iagny village, 
the 1Light Brigade with Bellenglise and Lehaucourt. 
On the final objective there would be another pause, 
then, if all had g:on.e well, the 32nd Divls.ion would 
corne through to the " Red " Line of explcitation-- 
an,other two mlles still further East. ]3Iaps were issued 
with the objective of each unit shoxx'n in colour. The 
Staffordshires had the " Blue,'" xx'hich was the Hinden- 
burg Line, and the " Brown " further E. to hold till 


we came up; the 4th Leice»tershires had the " Yellow," 
wh,ich included Knobke'rry Ridge, the 5th Linco.lnshires 
the ,L Dotted Blue "--just bey.on.d Magny village; ve 
had the last of ail, the " Green " line, including a 
sunken cross-roads, an old m, ill on so,me very high 
glound, and a small copse called Fosse Wood. It was 
arued that bv t'his time either the attaek would have 
failed and we should hot be vanted, or, if successful, 
there could hot be very much resi,stanee; we were very 
weak after l'on,truet, and this was oo,nsidered the 
easiest task. The day chosen was September 29th-- 
the time, dawn. 
Outside le Verguier runs a muddy lane with an 
o.ld quarr.v beside it. In this quarry, in an evil- 
smelling but very deep dug-out lived Battalion Head- 
quarters; everybody else occupied trenches in the fields 
round abo.ut. On the oppcs,ite side of the lane was a 
battery of 9. °' 
_ s, firing almost con.tinuoJsly dav and 
n,ight, making it almost impossible to reach the Head- 
quarters, and quite impossible to ride down the lane. 
Al.together our survoundings vere unpleasant. The 
enemv soon made them "orse, for aboJt an hour belote 
dawn on the 28th he suddenly put over a few sm,all 
shells, apparently h,igh explosive, round "B " 
pany's trenches, while one or two also fell r, ound " C " 
and "A " Companies. Finally he pitched three clean 
into the quarry, and the sentry w.oke up to the fact 
th, at they were not only high explosive, but con.tai'ned 
a verv fait percentage of mu.tard g, as. It was about 
an hoJr belote the disoverv was ruade and still longer 
b'efre ail troops were moved away. "C " Company 
wiselv took no risks and were soon across the road, and 
"A " and "D " were pr, actically un,affected. "B " 


Com.pny, however, were hot warned, and it was nearly 
two lours after the first shell had corne belote they were moved grumbling to another area. Apparently 
no one was gassed, but we knew mus,tard ordy too well 
a.nd feared very m.ucll what the enemy wo,uld bring 
forth. However, at 9-0 a.m it came on to pour with 
tain, and we got more hopeful. 
At 11 o'clock Col. Gritths, taking the Adjutant and 
Company Commanders w'ith him, set oaï to a Conference the Tank ofiï at Brigade Headquarters. The 
e,nemy were shelling le Ve.rguier, th,e 9.'s were firing 
vigorously, it was purîng with tain, and the horses 
were very ner-vous. The ride was cons.equently exciting. 
Led as usual by " Sunloch," the party galloped past the 
9.'s a.nd halted at the entrance to the village to try and 
" t.ime " the Boche s,hells. One came, they dashed in, 
turned the ccrne.r and just got clear i.n time; the next 
s.he.ll skimmed over the last groom's head and wounded 
a German prisoner. 
Out conference with the Tank officers caused a slight 
alteration ifi Col,onel Griffiths' plan of attack. He had 
intnded to ad,tance with two compan.ies in front and 
two in support, but finding a three company 
frontage was more suitable for Tank co-operation, this 
was adopted--"A " Company (Petch) to be on the 
right, "C " Company (Banwell)) to be in the centre, 
and " I)" Company (Corah) on the left. "B " 
C, ompany (Hawley) would be in support. The front 
line Company Commanders arranged with 
their Tank Comma,n.ders, and we rode back. 
By evening out w)rst fears had been realized, and 
fortv-five of " B " Cmpany had to be sent to Hospital, 
too blind from the mustard gas to be cal any use. 


C.S.M. XVardle and about rive men from each of the 
other C,ompanies had also to go, while Headquarters 
lost Mess Corporal J. Bus.well. As we had lost L/Cpl. 
Bourne a few davs before, this left us rather helpless, 
and, but for out energetic Padre-Mess-President, 
should probabl.v bave starved. VVe had one consola- 
tion. Towards evening on the 28th the rain stopped, 
the weather brightened, and there seemed to be every 
prospec of a fine Sundav. Bombs, flares and extra 
r.ations xvere distributed at dusk, and we turned in for 
the night during which, except for a few aeroplane 
bombs, the left us in peace. 
At -0 a.m., Sunday, the 29th of September, the 
barrage started. There xvas the usual thick morning 
mist, and even at ï-0 a.m. we were unable to see more 
than a fer« vards in anv directi.on. Even gun flashes 
could not be seen, and the only intimation v«e had of 
the pogress of the fight, was the continuous " chug- 
chug-chug," of the tanks, mo,ving along the vallev 
North of us, completely out of sight. As we were no.t 
due to more 9-0 a.m. we spent the time having 
breakfasts and reorganizing the remai.ns of "B " 
Company. Lieut. Hawley, with the aid of the recentlv 
returned C.S.M.J.B. XVeir, D.C.M., formed one large 
platoon with as many Lewis Guns as possible. 
Between 7-0 and 8-0 a.m. the mist lifted once for a few 
seconds only, and, looking Northwards ve could see 
the top of the next ridge. Along the skvline as far 
as the eve could see fvo,m XVest to East stretched a long 
column of horses, guns and wag.ons--moving forward. 
Below them, in the shadow, moved a long procession of 
Tanks. Then the mist closed down and we saw no 


As soon as breakfasts were finished, picked N.C.O.'s 
and meaa were sent forward to get in touch with the res.t 
e.f the Brigade and recon.noitre roads forward to the 
Canal. At 7-45 a.m. came a message from Brigade 
Headquarters, to sav that, as the mist was wo,rse 
further East, we had better start moving at once. 
Parade was accordingly ordered for 8-30 a.m., instead 
of 9-0 a.rn., and we tried to forrn up in a field near the 
quarry. The mist was so thick one could hot see from 
one end of a Cmpany to the other, a.nd it vas nearlv 
nine o'clock before Capt. Jack and his orderlies with 
their medical box appeared in the field, and we were 
ready to more off. Even so, we had to leave the mess 
staff behind, but the Padre promised to bring them 
At 9-0 a.m. we moved off in single file, Col. Griffiths 
leading, and the Co.mpanies folloving in the order 
" A," " C, .... D," Battalion Headquarters, and " B." 
It vas terriblv difficult to keep touch, as, with manv 
oaths, we stumbled over ditches and holes until ve 
reached the lane from le Verguier to Grand Priel. Here 
we picked up the Headquarter horses, and also were 
much cheered bv some wolunded soldiers, who told us 
the Boche was running awav for ail he was worth. 
Unfortunatelv our column was cut in half by some 
artillery coming down the line, who passed between 
"D " C.ompany and Headqu,arters. Alo.ngside us, 
mov,ing on the saine track, were the 5th Sherwood 
Foresters, also bound for the " Green Line "; their 
" ail up " was passed to the head of out column, and 
the Colonel, th.i.nking we were intact, moved on. At 
Ascension Farrn, the Adiutant was sent in to report to 
Brigade Headquarters and the Colonel truck off into 


the mist, marching ent,irely by compass bearing. 
Periodically he and Cptain Petch stopped to check 
their direction and then moved slo.wly o,n again; there 
was some barbed xire and the h,orses were sent back. 
Eventuall.v, after cross,ing the o,Id front line and go4ng 
hall wav do«vn the next slope the Colonel halted, and 
alloxving the Companies to form up by platoons, waited 
until it was rime to o on. He judged that he should 
be somewhere near the s.tarting line of the 
Staffordsh.ires. "C " and "D " Cmpanies came up 
but there was no Battalio¢a Headquarters and no " B " 
Cmpany--incidentally n,o Adjutant. The latter, 
com,in.g out fvom Brigade Headquarters, round that the 
Ba,ttalion had gone and tried to ride af ter them. He 
merelv succeeded in getting into a wire entanglement 
and haing n,o groom had to leave mare. \Vith 
Lieut. Ashdovne, the Intelligence Officer, and Scout- 
Crporal Gilbert--the onlv ones left of Battalion Head- 
quarters--he went on, to catch up the Battalion they reached the Canal. Fo,rtunatelv at 10-45 
the mist blev right away, and the sudden daylight 
which followed sh)wed him vhere the Battalion lay; it 
also sho«ved the Staffordshire's starti,ng tape onlv 60 
vards froan vhere the Colonel had hal,ted. 
Until 11-20 we sat in the sun and waited in the hopes 
that s.ome of the missing people might loin us. \Ve 
held a short Conference, and the Colonel decided that 
if there was anv more fog or difficulty of anv sort, 
Gompan.v Cmmande.fs shuld make their way at once 
to their pl.aces in the " dotted blue " line. Scouts were 
sent out to reo0,nn,oitre Çanal crossings, and as soon 
as fhe barrage started for the 4th Battalion's advance, 
we moved forward in rear of the 5th Lincolnshires. 


There was some scattered shelling, but out formation 
--lines of platcons in fours--was fo.und verv su[table. 
On reaching the Canal the two right Companes crossed 
by the remains of an old data, the left bv Riquerval 
Bridge, and ail formed up in the ruins of the famous 
Hindenburg Line on the far side. It had bêen terribly 
battered, and here and there the remains of its 
occupants showed l»cw deadlv out barrage, and how 
tierce the assault of the Staffordshires had been. As 
we reached the Canal a single Tank was seen coming 
d,own from the North, an,other followed and then 
others; " out" Battalion had crossed successfullv at 
Bellic.ourt, s the battle must be going well. 
After a short pause, the advance up towards Knob- 
kerrv Ridge started. As we cros'sed Springbok Vallev 
we could see the -tth Battalion consol, idating their 
nexvlv-xon positions on the top, and thre was little 
opposition fro.m this quarter. On out right, however, 
there seemed to be a stiff fight g'oing on in Bellenglise, 
artd several dropping shots from maohine guns fell 
round us. We depl.oyed into the " blob " fo,rmatio, 
before ascending the ridge, and for the next hall-toile 
out advance was xorthv of a plate in Field Service 
Regulations. In front the Colonel, with his eye on 
Magny village, kept the direction right. Behind him 
the three Companies deployed, their " distance " and 
" interval " perfect, and worling s well toEe-ther that 
if one xvas checked fo,r a t3me, rhe others saw it at once 
and onformed. Behind the centre a small red cross flag 
and the " red, white and black " marked the position 
of the Regimental Aid Post and Battalion Head- 
quarters. The latter's flag was a[readv becoming 
famous, [t was the one w[th which " A " Company had 


tried to signal flom Pontruet. A few yards short of 
the summ[t of the Ridge we halted and lay down again 
while the 5th Lin(olnshires did their advance. XVh,ile 
we were here, the Tanks came up, and so excellent 
had been the liaiston, that from the Tank wh,ich stopped 
behind "A " and "C " Companies stepped the officer 
with whom they had arranged details the day 
At about 1 o'cloek ve moved on again---our centre 
through Magny la Fosse and o.ur Flank Companies on 
each side of it. The fight in Bellenglise seemed to be 
over, and for the moment things were very quiet. 
Swarms of priso.ners, waving their arms, were seen 
coming from various trenches and the village; no one 
was looking after them, we were ail much too keen on 
getting forward. Here and there, xvhen a few Boches 
showed signs .of getting into a trench instead of 
keeping to the o.pen, some so.ldier would administer a 
friendly jab with the bayonet to show them what xvas 
expected of them. The Tanks came behind us, 
meaning to form up in 5Iagny woods, and wait there 
till we went on. As the Lincolnsh]res go.t their 
objective without trouble, we m,o.ved close up to them 
and once more lay down to xvait for 1-40 p.m., the time 
for o.ur own barrage and advance. 
Urfortunately, though screened from the East, the 
corner cf Magny .Voods, was vîsible from the South. 
Across the Canal on the high ground, some German 
gunner must bave seen the Tanks assembling, and, 
finding no attack was coming his way, started to shoot 
at point blank range at out rigfit flank. The right 
and centre became verv unpleasant, and there was a 
veritable barrage round " A " Company. Tbrcugh it, 
verv hot and ver" angry at being shelled, suddenlv 


appeared Padre Buck, a heavv pack of food on his 
back, and behind him the Regirnental Serjeant-Major 
and the rn, issing Headquarte,rs. He had found thern 
near Ascension Farrn and knowing enough of the plan 
of attack, had " sweatcd " thern along as hard as he 
¢ould. It is irnpo,ssible to imagine we should 
bave done with,o.ut runncrs, signallcrs or barmen, to 
sav n.othing o.f the food. As we were nov cnlv 600 
vards frorn our final objective the Padre and Captain 
Jack wen.t off to find a Regirncntal Aid Post and finallv 
settled in a small dug-out in a sunken fo,ad just outside 
the village. 
At 1-41) p.m. out barrage started and our advance 
began; our shclling vas slightly ragged in one or two 
places, but for the rn' part it was verv accurate-- 
wcmderfullv so, as guns were firing at extrerne range. 
On the right "A " Cornpany working along, and on 
both sides of an old trench, reached their objective 
with.out difficulty except for the shelling which, airned 
at the Tanks, was falling ail round the Cornpany. Petch, after L/Cpl. Downs and o¢hers had 
rem.oved sorne twentv-one Boches frorn a hole under the 
road, ruade Iris Hcadq.uarters there, went round his 
¢,utposts, and sent patro,ls out to his right flank, where 
the Shercod F.oresters, delaved in Belle.nglise, hot 
ver reached Lehaucourt. Thev soon carne up, however, 
and our right flank was secured. In the centre " C " 
Cornpany had even more shells and did not have the 
satisfaction of evicting anv Boches. Thev re,ached 
the'ir o,bjective and put outposts rlound the Mill and 
along a sunken road to connee.t with "A " Cornpany. 
The protective barrage was still in front of them, and 
throuffh it, in the direetion of Levergies, could be seen 


several Gerrnan batteries lirnbering up. One was quite This was Ioo rnueh for C.S.M. Angrave and 
Serjeant Tunks, xvho collected sorne txventy rnen and, 
regardless of the barrage, took advantage of the cover 
of a sunken road running East, and pushed forward. 
Tlaev could hot cross the open, but, using their rifles, 
dlowe off the gunners and killed the horses, so that the 
batterv rernained in out hands. very enterpvising 
part)" then went on under Serjeant Tutks and had a 
look at Levergies, finallv re¢urning after it was dark. 
Beh,ind "C " Cornpany, the Colonel and Adjurant 
after l.ving for sorne tirne in a srnall h.ole, and wondering 
whether they would be rolled on by one of out Tanks, 
or hit bv the shells airned at it, fin,ally planted their flag 
outside a little dug'-out on the N.E. corner of MaKny 
Voods. However, the Colonel xxlold hot rest here, 
but was off aKain at once to sec how we had fared. He 
first met Captain Banwell looking f.or a " success 
aocket "; this sounded satisfactory, and, as about the 
sarne tirne, Lieut. Hawley appeared with " B " 
Cornpan.v, and we once more had a " reserve, all 
looked xx'ell. On the left--" D " Company (Corah), 
after chalkin K ther narnes on a batterv of deserted 
whizz-bangs, collected a Boche officer and sorne 50 men 
frorn a 4.2 gun batterv without anv trouble; hurryin K 
on, thev round sorne 20 o.thers trying to bloxv up a 5.9 
How,itzer in Fosse \Vood, dernons.trated that this could 
n<)¢ be alIowed and t,ook them ail pris,osaers; then, 
without further opposition, thev dug in round the E. 
side of the wood and continued the line No,rthxvards to 
the Divisional boundarv. After visiting these, the 
Colonel went off to look at the left flank, and here, 
except for an Australan Machine Gun Section under a 


Serjeant there was no one. The Americ,ans were not 
up to their objeotive, they had n,t even taken Etricourt, 
and f).r nearly a toile back our left " in the air." 
V'¢)rse grill, the Australian Se.rjeart h,ad just been 
ordered to withdraw; the Colonel poi.n, ted out the 
.ituatio'n, and the Se,rjoant, dying for an excuse to stav 
where he could see enemy to shct at, called back his 
men and said " he'd sav as long as we wan.ted him." 
It was nr ver 3' satisfact,o.ry, but we c.ould do no.thing 
e.lse except pray hard for the arrlval of the 32nd 
Divsi).n. "vVhen the Colonel arrived back at Battalion 
Headquarters we though.t at first that our casualties 
had been verT. light indeed, but it wa, s no,t long before 
we got some bad news. On o.ur right flmak the Tanks 
had suffered hevilv at the hands of the 
gunners on the Le Tronquoy high ground, and of 
them, disabled and on tire, was a mark for several 
German Some of the crew managed to 
es¢ape, but o,thers, oo badly xounded, were le-ft 
in.side ; one crawled to ¢)ur Aid Padre Buck heard 
of this and at once went off to the rescue. The shelling 
was very heavy, and he was ,hit almost at once and 
wounded in many places. He was oarried back to the 
Aid, but died so,on afterwards, oons¢ious to the 
last, but hot in great pain. The Padre had been with 
s txxo years, and during all that rime, there was never 
a trench or outpost that he had n.ot visited, no marrer 
how dangerous or exposed. In addi'tion to his 
Çhaplain's duties, he had been O.C. Gaine.s, Recreation 
Room and often Mess President--a tho,ough sports- 
man and a brave soldier, we felt his 1.oss keenlv. 
Meanwhile every effort was being made to tell 
Brigade of out success, a.nd, xhile one aeroplane with 


British markinffs bombed us (in spite of numerous red 
flares), another took down a message from the 
" Pcrpham " sheet, which Serjeant Signaller ,Vilbur 
was operating. Soon after 4.0 p.m. Captain D. Hill, 
the Brigade Major, appeared and told us that the 32nd 
Division wcruld soon arrive, and at I5-15 p.m. their 
leading Ba.ttalions came through us. However, they 
round it was m3w too late to go forward, so put out 
Outposts just in fr.ont of our line. Their appearance 
provoked the Boche to further shelling', and an unlucky 
hi,t killed Serjeant Taylor, an experienced and valuable 
platoo«a Serjeant of " C " Company. Serjeants 
Marshall of "C " Company and Clarke ooE "D " 
Company, ere also wounded, but out total cas,ualties 
fo,r the day were under -05. Ve had reached out 
objective at ail po,ints and captured 8 guns and about 
100 prisoners. The l)ivision alt.ogether h,ad taken 4,000 
prisoners and 80 guns and smashed the Hindenburg 
Th.ough the machine-gun tire from low flying 
aeroplanes was somewhat troublesome at dusk, we had 
a quiet night aftcr the battle, and were able to 
dis.tribute rations and ammunition to the companies 
s,oo.n after midnight. At the time, we hardlv gave a 
though.t to this las.t, but it was a teat deserving of the 
higheset pr.aise. Vv'e had advanced some four mlles 
in.t the enemv's country across a canal, and bv dusk 
bridges and roads had been built sufficient to enable 
horse transport to carrv rations and ammurfitio,n to the 
most adranced units. Ours were delivered just outside 
Battali.on, and the Companies fetched 
them from there. The admirable organization of the 
Staff, and the skill and pluck of our Transport Drivers, 


h,ad enabled us to g,o into action carrying only our 
rations for the one day--very different from the 
Germans in their March offensive, whea each man xxas 
loaded up with food for rive days. 
The fo,ll.owing morning, the 32nd Division con.tinued 
the advance, a small barrage, ag.ainst Sequehart, 
Jo,noourt and, in the near cen.tre, Leve,rgies. The 
enemv had round it impossible to remain in their 
positions at Pontruet and South of the Canal, and 
hustled bv the 1st and Freuch Divis,ions, had evacuated 
them. The French were now therefo,re continuing our 
line Southwar0s from Lehauooert. The attack started 
at dawn and soon afterwa.rds the vallev past Fosse \Vood 
was thronged wi,th \Vbippet tanks and cavalry, xvaiting 
in case of a possible " break-thr.ou.h " It was the first 
rime most of us had seen Cavalrv in action, and they 
ruade an impo,sing sight a.s they filed along the valley in 
the morning mist. At the saine rime several batteries of 
Horse Artillery trotted up and taking up positions near 
our "D " Company, opened tire to assist the atta¢k. 
Levergies, overl.ooked from two sides, was soon taken 
and several prisoners were captured o.n the left, but 
elsewhere t,he enemv had been strongly reinforced, and 
the attacks on Sequehart, Preselles and Joncourt broke 
down under he,avv machine gun tire. Apparently a 
stand was tobe ruade the " F.onsomme " trench N. and S. along th.e next ridge. After 
waiting all day, the Cavalry and " whippets " slowly 
xvithdrew again in the evening. 
That night and the fo,ltowing day, as the 32nd 
Division had nov definitelv taken over the outpo,st line, 
the Companies were brought in¢o more comfortable 
quaters near Magny la Fosse and Headquarters moved 

CR()SSlNG THE ('ANAL. 313 

into an old (;erman Artillery dug-out on the bill. In 
these positions "A " Company had the misfc,rtune to 
lose Serjean,t Toon, a most and cheerful 
t'latoon Serjeant, who was wounded by a chance 
rnac,h,ine-gun bullet, but otherwise we had a quie.t time. 
Reorganizati.on and refitting once rno,re occupied our 
minds, and, as "B " Company's gas casualties had 
m.ade thcm so weak, ail " battle deCails " ordered 
to join us. The following dav they arrived under 
C.S.)I. Coopcr, who resurned h,is duties with " i)" 
Cornpany. 2nd Lieuts. Todd and Argyle also rejo.ined 
us fro,m le,are, and the Stores and Transport rnoved up 
to Magny village. The sarne afternoon there was a 
Battalion parade and General Rowlev complirnented us 
OI'I OUI" wo.rk during our twio battles. He had visited 
Pontruet since the attack and was unable to find words 
to express his admiration for out fight in the village. 
The arrival of the " i)ailv Mail," and the discoverv that 
at last the naine " North Midland " figured in tfie head 
lines cheered us all irrnmensely, and the fall of St. 
Quen.tin to the Frenc,h gave a practical proo- of the 
value of out efforts. VCe were ail verv happy and 
said " N.ow we shall bave a go,od test to re-fit." 
Nothing, however, appeared to be further frorn the 
inten:tio.ns of the Higher Cornmand, and on Octo,ber 
2nd the oher two Brigades carne thvough us to take 
over the tine frorn the 32nd, and again atternpt to break 
the " Fons,omme " Line-on the 3rd. The French 
would attack on the right, the 32nd l-)ix-isi.o,n would be 
responsible for Sequehart, and the 46th, with Stafford- 
s.hires on the right and Sberxvood Fo,resers on the left, 
u-o.uld sweep over l'res.elle.s, Ranicmrt and Mont- 
brehain, a,nd make a break for the cavalrv and 


" whippets." Jonoe.ul-t bad already been captured and 
the left flank was tl»e',re secure. Ottr Brigade was 
in support, and would not be wanted to more until 8-0 
a.m. There was hot much rime for making prepara- 
tion.s, and the Artillery, who had particularly short 
notice, spent the nigbt before the battle getting into 
pcsitioa near out Headquarters. 
Once more a tbick morning mist covered out attack 
and tbe first waves, advancing with the barrage at 
dawn, quicklv. coq possession of l're.selles and the 
Fonsomme Line, killing lllallv Germans and taking 
large numbers of prisoners. There was co.nsiderable 
resistance in tbe centre, but the Sherwood Foresters, 
led bv such men as Colonel Vann, disposed of it, and 
bv 10.0 a.m. all objectives were gained and everything 
rcadv for the Cavalrv. Meanwhile, soon after 8-0 
a.m., the Battalion was ordered to more up at once and 
support the Staff, ordsbires. \Ve were to be under the 
orders of General Campbell, but would hot be used for 
anv purpose except holding the Fo.nsomme Line, to 
which we were now to go. \Ve had been warned the 
previous evening tbat, if used at all, it would be on the 
right flank, and reconnoitering pa:rties had already gone 
fo,l'ward to get in touch witb the Staffordshires; these 
had n.ot ver returned, so we started without them. 
Soon after 9-0 a.m. we left Magny la Fosse and 
moved dlo,wn the hill towards Levergies, which we 
decided to leave on out right flank, as it was full of 
gas. \\.'e were in lines of platoons in fours--" D " 
Company (Corah) and "C " (Banwell) leading, bound 
fo.r the Fons.omme Line, "A " Company (Petch) and 
"B " (Hawley) foalow,ing with orders to find support 
positions to the other two. Tbe Headquarters moved 


bv the railwav line N.E. of Levrgies to take up a 
positi,on as near as possible to the Support Battal.ion 
Headquarters of the Staffo.rdshires. AI1 went well until 
the leading Cornpan.ies were beginn, ing to climb the hill 
E. of Levergies, when a runner from Brigade Head- 
qu.arters caught us up xxith a mess,age to sav that the 
32nd Division had hot taken Sequehart in the first 
attack, and that it xvas uncertain in wh,ose hands the 
village now xas. Everv effort was rnade to warn the 
Cornpa, n.ies, but we co.tlld hot reach " 1)" and " A " 
in rime, and xve cculd onlv that if Sequehart was 
still in the enerny's hands, thev would be warned of it 
in tirne Fo deploy their right platoons, which would 
otherxxise match ila fcurs close to the edge of the village. 
Seque.hart, hoever, if nct at thi,s rime actuallv in 
e,ur hands, was ,at all events clear cf the enerny, and 
our righ.t flank had n.o t,oable. The rnis.t and Sllaoke 
ruade communication between the Gornpanies verv 
difficult, and so each rnoved, more or less independently, 
to its allotted station. "C " was the first to reach 
the " Fcnsomme Line," onlv to fin,d that the line was 
nwhere than six i.nches deep, and, except for its 
concrete machine gun posts, was only a " big work " 
when ph,otographed frorn the air. Captain Banwell 
accordingly took up his position in a sunken lane 
runnng be.twee,n Seque'hart and Preselles. Me.anwhile, 
the cther leading Cornpany, " D," had rnoved too far 
go the left, a verv fortunate clrcurnstance, because 
Col.onel Griffiths was able to change their directi,o,n and 
dispose them facing right, to forrn a defensive right 
flank opposite Sequehart. "B " Cornpany was also 
ordered to face right in support t2o "D " Cornpany. 
" A " Cornpany, ho.wever, had no,t ruade the sarne err, or 


as '" D," and Captain Petch, keeping his direction, 
round, as " C " Company had, that the " Fonsomme " gave him no cover. He, therefore, occupied 
the same sunken lane, about 300 yards south of "' C " 
Compan.v. Soon a.fterwards an intercepted message told 
Captain Petch >f our changed d, isposi.tions, and, to 
pvotec.t his right, he too moved his Company to conf.rm 
with '" 1)." Battalion Headquarters had bv this time 
occupied a large bank at t.he boto,m of the bill, where 
Colonel W'hite, of the 5th South Staffordshires, had 
already planted h,is flag. 
From our new positi.ons we had an extensive view 
to the East. Mannequin Ridge was on the right 
flank with Doon Hill at the end of it, held by the 
enemy, ehough we could see the Saffordshires holding 
the ridge. In the foreground was a valley, and on 
our left an,o,ther ridge from Preselles to 
Ramicourt. The Staff>rdshires did not appear ver)" 
numerous for their large frontage, and it was clear that 
unless the Cavalrv appeared soon, there was danger 
tlat thev would be c.ounter-attacked. But at 10-0 a.m. 
the lead, ing Cavalry were only just to appear 
over the Magny heights. The enemy was fairlv quiet, 
• except for one field gun, 2,000 yards away on our 
extreme right, bevond Sequehart. C.S.M. Angrave 
kept sniping at the gurmers, wh.o replied to each of lais 
shots with a whizz-bang. 
It soon became obvious th,at so long as the enemv 
rem.ained o.n Doon Hill, the Cavalrv cculd hot 
advance, and shortlv af ter middav we received 
orders to place txvo Companies at the disposal of the 
137th Brigade, to assist in an attack on the Hill. 
Golonel Griffiths decided to use "A '" and " D" 


Companies, and Captain Petch and Lieut. Corah 
ve,re at once summoned to Headqu,art,ers, vhen »ve 
were told the attack was to be ruade by the North 
Staffordshires, Colonel Evans, an,d ou.r Cornpanies 
would be in suppo,rt. Acoordingly Colonel Grilîàths 
and the Company Commanders set off for Colonel 
Evans' headquarters while the two Companies m,oved 
over the open to "C " Cornpany's sunken l.ane, where 
they formed up for the attack. A few of "A" Company 
under 2nd Lieut. Vhetton crossed the lane and reached 
the Staffordshi.res' front line. was no fixed 
time t%r the assault, but the h.ill xvas to be shelled by 
our Artillerv until 2.30 p.m. This shelling ceased as 
our Companies reached the lane, nearlv a mlle from 
the object.ive, and Colonel Evan« tried in vain to have 
it renewed. 
Meanwhile the enemv had been assembling out of 
sight behind Mannequin Ridge, and now suddenly 
attacked the Staffordshires heavily, driving them from 
their positions on the crest. At the same time the 
valley was swept fr, ona end to end bv bursts of machine 
gun tire, and it was obvious an advance across the 
open could only be made with ver), heavy loss. Colonel 
Griffith.s xs-islaed to stop the attack at least until 
Ma,nnequin Ridge was retaken, but, before anything 
could be donc, the enemy opened a heavv artillerv 
barrage on the lane, and the Golonel was badly 
wounded. Some of " A " Company had pushed 
farward a little, and Captain Petc.h and 2nd Lieut. 
Dennis managed to find some cover for No. 4 Platoon 
about 200 yards East of the Lane. It was now about 
3-0 p.m. and Colonel Evans, probably intending to 
airer his plans, sent for the Company Commanders. 


As they arrived a shell fell on the party, killing the 
Colonel, Lieut. Co.rah and 2nd Lieut. Christ)', wound- 
in,g Captain Petch. A few minu.tes later 2nd Lieut. 
Mace was hit in the leg with a bulle,t, a.nd both he and 
Cptain Petch were sent dtovn. " 1) " Company vas 
officerless, " A " had three isolated g.loups, two 
f, orw,ard and unappro,achable, the thi.rd under 2nd 
Lieut. Edwarde,s in the Sunken Lan.e. There xxere no 
orders and n.o one knew what to do, so C.S.M. Cooper 
collected "D " and 2nd Lieut. Edwardes and C.S.M. 
Smith c,llectcd all they could find of " A," and both 
pl'olonged "C " Company's fine to the le£t. The lane 
here was less sunken than on fhe right, and the cover 
was ver)" poor, affo.rding little protection against the 
enemy's s,hells, xx»hich came from front and flank. 
We w.ere now very short of officers. The Adjutant, 
Captain J. D. Hills, xxas in command, with Lieut. 
Ashd,o«vne as Adjutan,t; 2nd Lieut. Argyle was acting 
Liaison Officer with the Staffordsh,ires, so there was 
no else except the M.O. at Headquarters. Captain 
Jack, it is true, was a hot in himself, for, when n,ot 
tying np th.e wounded, he was alwavs re.ady with some 
merrv rernark to cheer us up; we needed it, for out 
railwav line xvas as heavilv sheled as the sunken lane. 
In addition to the killed and wounded the Companies 
had also lost two new subaltern officers who had joined 
the previous day and gone awav sligh.tly gassed, while 
2nd Lieut. Griffiths, who had g-olne forward wifh the 
reconnoitering parties, had n*at been seen since. 
Captain Banwell was therefore alone with " C " 
Company. Lieut. Steel xx'as at o,nce sent to command 
" D," and, on arrival at the sunken lane, at once 
received a shell splinter iii the leg; fortunately, how- 


ever, this xxas n,o,t serious, and he and C.S.M. Cooper 
were soon hard at work straighoEenig out the 
Co,mpany. This \Va.rrant Officer and C.S.M. Smith 
of "A " Company" were admirable; it was l.argely due 
to them that bo,th Companies, badly shaken after their 
gruelling, were within a few h.ours once more fit for 
anything. Out sho,rtage of oflacers xvas likelv to 
continue, for our onlv " battle detail," Major Burnett, 
had iust go,ne to England, to the Senio.r Officers' 
Sc.h,ool at Aldershot. Onr casnalties during the after- 
n.oon included c,ne xvho could iii be spared. A direct 
hit with a shell on " C " Company Headquarters 
wounded C.S.M. Angrave i.n the back. He died a few 
davs later. One o.f the original Territovials, he had 
sern'ed with us the wh,o.le time, and even four vears 
of France had fa.iled to lessen his devoti.on to "Ç " 
Soon after 3-0 p.m. General Campbell himself rode 
up to Battalion He.adquarters and after explaining the 
situation, pointed out the importance of h,olding a little 
group of trenches o.n some high ground three-quarters 
of a mile E. of l'reselles. Accordingly" " B " 
Cc,mpany" (Hawley), now onh" 25 sttong, were sent 
there with two Lewis Guns; at the same time some of 
the Monmonthshires were sent to help him. Mean- 
while, ail the afterno,o,n and evening, the enemv kept 
makin small attacks o.n Mannequin Ridge and 
towards Sequehart; several of these were broken up 
bv Artillerv tire, and after his firs, t efforts he had no 
furtber successes. Our Cavalry, having arrived too 
late in lhe morning to pass thronh when the enemv 
was reallv disorganized, waited ail dav in the vallev 
behind Preselles, and after lo.sing sex'eral men and 


horses in the sbelling, had once more to withdraw at 
dusk. Their horses were senrt back, but as many 
men as could be spared were sent up dismounted, with 
rifles and bayo,nets, to help h,old the " Fonsomme 
Line " in case of strong enemy coun.ter attacks. They 
did not move up un.til dark and, of course, could not 
find the " Fonsomme Line," any more than we could 
in the morning, so started to dig where they could. 
Fortunatelv the Commanding Oflïcer, going round the 
line, found them, and, sending one party up to help 
"' B " Company, who were now alone, he and Captain 
Banwell guided the rest across the valley, where they 
could find some cover on the hill sfide. Had they been 
allowed to remain wbere they had started to dig, they 
would pro,bably have suffered very he.avily in tho 
morning from the Ridge opposite, whence the enemy 
xvould have had a beautiful viexv of them. 
Ration.s arrived soon after dark. During the after- 
non 2nd Lieut. Todd had reeonnoitred a route for his 
limbers, and, after a narrxv escape from so,me heavy 
shells, had managed to find a passable road. Vith the 
limbers came also 2nd Lieut. Griffiths, who had been 
xvandering ail over the countrvside in his effo,rts t find 
us. By midniffht the companies had their rations and 
th.eir mail, and, even in the sunken lane, a stalle could 
be seen here and there. The night xvs quiet, and 
we were able to collect ail scattered parties and see 
what our casualties had been. F,o,rtun.ately the loss 
of other ranks xvas n,ot in the saine propo,rtio¢a as of 
officers, but we had s,tarted so weak th,at we could iii 
afford to lose the sevea killed and 30 wounded which 
were o,ur total casualties for the dav. " A " and " D " 
Companies had been hardest hit and Lance-Co,rporal 


Meakin was amo,ngst the killed; Serjeant Vard had 
been wounded, Serjean.t Peach of "B " Company had 
al's.o bee.n killed, wh.ile "C" Company, in addition to 
tbeir Ç.S.M., lost Serjt. Bond gassed and Cpl. Foulds 
At dawn on the 4th, as there w,as no sign of any 
attempted counter-attack on the part of the enemy, 
most of the dismounted oav.alrv were withdrawn, and 
we remained in our positions of the prevous dav. The 
m,orni.n.g was slightly mistv and Battalion Head- 
quarters had one bad scare. The Commanding 
Officer and Adjutant were out 1.ooking for new 
quarters, when they suddenly saw over the hill 
XV. of Sequhart--behind their right flank--a number 
of Germans in open order. A batterv of 60 pounders 
in Levergies saw them at the same rime a,nd opeaaed 
tire at point blank range. It was fully rive minutes 
belote a few leisure,lv French soldiers appearing over 
the same crest, sh,owed that the Germans were merelv 
a large batch of prisoners collected bv the French at 
dawn. Throu,e,hout the dav the enemv shelled various 
parts of the back area, and in this respect Headquarters 
came of*" worst, being more bombarded than even the 
sunken road. The bank under which thev sat did not 
give them much oo-er, and the Boche m-anaged to 
dvo,p his s.hells with great accuracv o.n the Raihvav line 
an.d even hit the R.A.P. Bv the afternoon thev were 
so tired c,f bei,ng chased backwards and forwards 
along the bank that thev followed the example of the 
M.O., wh,o with a wonderful display of calmness, which 
he did rot in the least feel, sat a book of poems 
and refused to move. He admitted afterwards that 
he had not read a line, but it tooked verv well, and as 
usual he kept us ail cheerful. 


Late in the afternon tle long expectod orders for 
rel,ief came and we earnt that we were to corne out 
tkat n, ight »ith the Staffordshires. "B "' Companæ 
o the left were actuall» relieved, but the other 
Compazfies had merelv to wait un.fil the fron.t line 
Battain.s »ere cler and then m, arch out. The Boche 
shelted H,eadquarters once more just as they were 
«oin ad fired a con,siderable amoun,t of gas shells 
all o»er the cou.rtDide , but no one as hurt, and 
eventuall, s,orne b. Magn?, some b» Joncourt, all 
arrived at the little »illage of Etrieourt. Some of us 
rolled into dug-outs, some into ruined houses, some in 
the fo,ad; all of us murmured " No»»" we shall have 
out real test at last,'" and x»ent to sleep--tired out. 



5th Oct., 1918. llth Oct., 1918. 
OrE n,ight was ail we spent in Etricourt, bitterly 
cold but quiet and u.nmolested by the enemy. The 
foll'owin,g day, the 5th of September, was bright and 
warm, so we at once set about out surround- 
ings, s.tarted to bring some of out stores from Magny 
La Fsse, and were iust beginning to think we might 
make the place fairly comfrtable, when orders came 
f.or another m.o'¢e. There was going to be another 
battle, and, though we were not tak,ing part, out area 
was wan.ted for a Support Division, so we were to go 
back acrcss the Çanal, and take over some shelters in 
the old frost line trench on th.e Ridge. This sounded 
rather cold, but at ail events we were going backwards 
to tahat long expected test; not too s,oon, for at middav 
an observation ball,oo,n ruade its appearance, and its 
section chose Etricurt for their home, with the result 
of course of annoying the Boche to such an extent that 
he fired some shells over the village. At 5-0 p.m. we 
fell in and marched bv RiquelwM Bridge over the Canal 
and up to the Ridge, passing the Brigadier on the 
mai,n road by the Canal, and round the Brigade u e 
were to rel,leve, sitting ver 5" comfortablv in their shelters 
and huts. Unfortun,atelv thev had no intention of 


movîng until the following m,orning. It as now 
6-30 p.m. and vould soon be dark, so we were faced tuo altematives--one to sit on the road, send 
for the Staff, and wail loudl.v, the other to help our- 
The other two Batt;flions chose the former ; we, being 
n,ow verv o.ld soldiers, chose the l, atter. An open patch 
o,f gound with some good large s, hell was before 
us, we had a tool eart with us, and here and there 
might be seen a sheet oir txxo of c'orrugated i.ron. Long 
belote it was dark a rhin curl of sm,oke coming out of 
the ground, a snatch of song, or someone grousing 
in a loud vo,ice, were the onlv indications that there 
were four Çompanies of living there. The 
officers were a li,ttle less f,o,rtunate; kn.oxvi,ng that there 
xvere bell tents eoming on thc limbers, they wa.ited for 
them. At last they came, and very good tents, too, 
but s,omeone had forgotten to bring the poles. In 
spite of this, we were soon ail under cover, and in 
He,adquarter Mess were actuallv h,a.ving a hot dinner 
whea the Staff arrived and informed the other two 
Battalions that thcy would now (in the dark) bave to 
make the best of cover thev culd find. 
The following mo,rning our tem poles arrived, and, 
having planted thê red, white and black flag outside 
the C.O.'s, tent and mounted guard, we felt quite 
respectable again. By the aftern,oon we had so far 
in.creascd in pride that the Drums hot o,nlv blew 
" Retreat," but gave us an excellent concert while the 
guards were changed. "Ve expeeted ev,erv hour or so 
t.o get orders o. 'o back to some place of .reater 
c.omfort for our rest, but thought it best to tak,e no 
risks, and, on the morning of the 7th, gave everybody 


a hot bath. T\xo wagon covers and a cooker on the 
Canal xçorked wonders in this way. This dav we 
lost two naore Lie,ut. \Vhetton went on 
leave, and Lieut. St,eel had to go to Hospital as the 
xx;ound in his leg would hot h.eal. "B " Conapany, 
being little larger than an ord,iaary Platoon, L,ieut. 
Hawley was transferred to " D," and 2nd Lieut. 
Oosgrove commanded " B." Captain Banwell had 2nd 
Lieut. Griffit'hs in "C" C.mpa,ny, and 2nd Lieuts. 
Edwards and l) were still with '" A." There 
were no other Co,mpany ofiicers, as 2nd Lieut. Argyle 
was kep.t at Headquarters fo.r Intelligence work. 
Fortuna,laelv 2nd Li,eut. Todd still rem.ained to look 
after the Transport, which throughout the fighting had 
been excellent, and Capt. Nicho,ls,o,n, though suffering 
frona '" flu," stuck noblv to h,is work and looked after 
o.ur conafo,rt at the Stores. 
J.ust after 10 o'clock on the 7th, orders canae frona 
Brigade for a naove on the follow, ing day--forward, 
hot further back, and once naore o,ur hopes of the 
prona,ised test were dashed. Th,is tinae lhe attack was 
going to be made by the other Divisions, and the 46th 
was to move at Zero to s,ome assemblv areas round 
Magny La Fosse, and wait there in case the enenav 
were suffici.e,ntly " broken " to all,'ov of a general 
advane. Zero was rive minutes past rivera most 
uncomfortable hour for a, e,specialay as break- 
fas,ts had to be emten beforehand. Almost evervbodv 
was in bed before orders cana.e, bu.t there were some 
wlo had no sleep that night: the Orderlv Room pro- 
ducing o,peration orders, the Quartermaster's depart- 
naen.t (whose wagonts arrived at a-0 a.m. !), and the 
cooks getting breakfasts ready, were the naost unlucky, 


but so well did ail ranks and ail departments do their 
work, th,at at 5-0 a.m. the Battalion fell in ready to 
move. Packs had been stacked, ammuni.tion and bombs 
distributed, myst important of ail, we had had a 
good breakfast. There is no doubt our discipline 
and spirit were never better than during those strenuous 
Seldom bas more bad language been heard than on 
that earh" morning match down to the Canal again. 
It was half dark and there were Un,ts assembling and 
marching in everv direction. Eventually, finding we 
should be late at the starting point if we waited for 
the Rcgiment which should have been ahead of us, 
we decided to go on at once, and set off down the 
rough and slippery" track to Riquerval Bridge. AI1 xxent 
modertatelv well until a "C " Company limber stuck. 
Bef, ore it could be drawn clear, a Company of ano,ther 
Regiment marched up and round it, entireh" preventing 
out efforts to free it. Curses were toud on both sides, 
but n,othing could equa! the fllmv of language that the 
txx o Company flung at each other over the 
heads of their perspi.ring C<>mpanies. 
Eventualh" the limber was on the road again, and we 
reaclmd the Bridge, near which the Boche everv few 
mi.nutes droppcd a shell. This fact, coupled with a 
long line of Artillerv horses going to " water," and 
the Brigadier trying to get his Brigade the 
Cnal, produced an effect which completely eclipsed the 
limber scene. However, as we crossed, the Boche 
stopped shelling, daylight came and xxe round the road 
good, though traffic ruade the rate of march verv slow. 
The blaspheming consequently subsided, and, finding 
a field track going in the right d, ireotion, we continued 


our m,arch at a fine pace until xxe reached our assembly 
p,osi.tio'n--a,n open stretch of grotmd on the South side 
of the Magny-Jonc,ourt Road. Along tllis road were 
batteri,es of heavv guns, standing almost whe,el to wheel 
and firing rapidly, so, in v,iew of possible retaliatio,n, 
the Companies were scattered over li.ttle groups 
of trenches iii the neiffbourhood. Th,e cookers came 
up and we prepared to make oursclves as comfortable 
as pcssiblc, while we once more had the pleasure of 
watching the Çavalry waiting to be tised, and cnce 
more saw them g.o slowly back. 
In the afteriaoon e m.oved into the next valley East- 
wards, so as tobe n.earer the " line " if wanted ; there 
was al.o botter and les,s accommodation. 
Gun pits, dug-outs and the inevitable gra,ssy bank pro- 
vided ail we wan.ted, and when, an hour later, some 
few gas shells fell in the valley, we were ail snugly 
under cover. Ail that is to sav except the o,okers and 
with them Srjeant Thomson and cooks ; these were 
i-n a shallow stlnken road, and had a shell within a fev 
ya.rds of them, fortuaaatelv doing no damage. Thinking 
it best to take all the rest we oould, we had the 
eve,n,ing meal early, and long befre it was dark most 
of the Batta[ion were asleep. The Commanding 
Officer himself retired before 9-30 p.m., and was conse- 
que.ntly fast asleep w.hen, so«n after I0-0 p.m., a 
runner appeared with the usual " B.G.C. vill see all 
Commanding Officers at cnce." The rendezvous this 
time was Preselles, some two mlles axav across 
coun,trv. It was a dark night, but with the aid of a 
compass he round his wav there ail right and received 
orders from General Rowlev for an immediate more. 
The Brigade was lo relieve a Brigade of the 6th 


Divis,io,n in the right British s.ector next the French; 
the Battalion would relieve the Vest ¥orks R. in 
the right sub-sec,or. The follo«ving morning the 
Brigade vould move fo,rvard iato Meicourt vhich was 
supposed to have been evacuated by the enem.v; we 
vere to be " squeezed o.ut " bv th.e 5th Line. R. and 
French joining h,ands across out front, and would 
corne int,o support. (;uides would meet us for the reli.ef 
at l'resell,es at midnigh, October 8th/gth. 
The Commandi«g Olficer at once hurried back to the 
Battalon and verballv issued relief o,rders vhile the 
Cempa«fies weve falling in. In a little more than half 
a,n hur all wcre readv to more, and Companies 
marched indcpendently to l'rcselle.s, wh.e,re, under cover 
of th.e hill side, the Battalion assembled soon after mid- 
night. There vere no guides, so, after vaiting some time 
in vain, the C.O. once m,re went t'o Brigade Head- 
quarters and asked fcw i«astructins. He vas given a 
map refercnce--supposed to be tha.t o,f the Battalion 
Hcadquarters o.f the \'est Ycrks., and once more the 
Battalio.n moved off. In single file, with no. intel-als 
between pla,toens fo,r fear o.f touch, and a verv 
uncertain l«a,o«vledge of the positi.on of the enemy, we 
marched s.l,owlv across com»t.rv towards where we hoped 
t,,o final Battali,on Hc.adquavters. Reaching the famus 
sunken vo,ad of the battlc of the 3rd, we halted while 
a search was marie; we had corne to the place referred 
t,o on the map, the-e was nothing there. Fortunatel.x, 
just as wc were wo.ndering what on earth to do, two 
XV. Vcrrks. guides appeared, led us to their Battalion 
Headquarters, and soon afterwards the Co.mpanies 
disappeared Eas,twards. 
Battalin He.adquartcrs xas in a small cellar under 


an isolated bouse jus.t o.utside Scqueh.a,t on the l'reselles 
Road. It was a m.ost extraordin.a,rv relief in manv 
vays, and perhaps the most extr,ordinarv part was 
the scene in that Headquarters. were foar of 
us with tbe M.O., rive. \\'est Yorks., a Frecb Inter- 
pretr, a Padre, and an indescribable heap of runners 
and signllers, to sav nothing of batmen, in a cellar 
xvhich might have held four p.eop[e comfortabh. On 
one of the beds in the corner lav an ol%cer. N.oticing 
that he was nt wea.rinff \V. Yorks badffes, we asked 
xvh,o he was. Thev did no,t know, h,e had l)een there 
si.nce thev came in and had never moved; " perhaps 
he was gassed or dead," thev remarked casuallv. This 
was ty'pical of how we all feh, much to tired to worrv 
over other people's tro.ubles. As it bappened he was 
not dead, and, though to this dav we have never dis- 
covered who he was, be eventualh- disappeared---going 
out to look for his oxx Regime,nt. Fo.r some hours 
we sat in the most terrible waiting for the 
relief to be finisaed, and at last, just as dawn was, as three C<)mpanies had reported that thev 
were in position, we agreed to Imke over the line, and 
the \V. ¥orks. marched outto take part in some other 
hattle f.urther North. As soon as thev had gone, the 
Ç.O., with a map in one hand and a slice of bread 
and jam in the other, went up to look at out front line 
and se.e whether the Boche had rellv left Merlcourt. 
The Battalio,n sector was astride the Sequehart-Meri- 
court Rk)ad w'hich tan due East along the vallev South 
of Mannequin Ridge. Seque.hart village and the vallev 
were both full of mist and gas wh,ich hung about in 
patches, and made walking verv unpleasant. There 
were manv German dead round the village and in the 


ccncrete emplacements of the Eon, somme line, and the 
fighti,ng in this part must bave bee.n heavv. Keeping 
/o the main road, the C.O. found "B "' Company 
at a small cross-roads about oene m,ile East o.f Seque- 
hart; "A " Company, accordi-ng to the \\'est ¥ork- 
shires, should also h'ave been here, but as this was the 
Coaïpany  hich had not vet reported " relief complete," 
he vas not surprised when he could n,ot find t_hem. 
At the next cross-roads, half a mlle short of Mericourt, 
were " C " and " D " Companies on the right and left 
respectively of th-e road. Small patrols had alreadv 
bcen out towards the village and had not found anv 
en,emy, and both C, ompanies were now engaged in 
finding the Units on their flanks. On the left a post 
of the Lincolnshires as s.oon round, and on the right 
the French were onlv a few vards aw¢tv. The liaison 
here was perfect. After an excha«lge off courtesies bv 
the Company Commanders, the flank po.sts fraternized 
vigorously, and the Frenchmen, bv producing some 
" Jimmy Blink," cemen.ted the E»tente Cordiale. 
Tbev were in great spirits, and since dawn had been 
formed up xvith bayonets fixed, waiting to make an 
attack; " Zero" hour had hot been told them, but 
that did no worrv them in the least. To improve the 
co-operation between us, the French sent a plaoon 
under a Subattern officer to work with us. 
Bv 6-30 a.m. the mist had lifted enough for us to. Mericourt village plainly, and a strong patrol under 
2nd Lieut. Gritfiths was sent out to recnnoitre it. 
Thev met with no oppo.stion. A few minutes later, a 
mounCed OfiScer of the Staffordshires, without stopping 
a,t our front line o ask about th-e situation, rode into 
he village. \Ve wê're ail much too interested in 


watching to sec what became of bim, to think of 
warning h,irn that the Boctae rnight s.till be there. Soon 
afterwards, as there was sill no sign of the en.erny, 
" C " Oo,rnpany rnoved into and occup,ied the East side 
of the village, and " B ' 'and " D " Cornpanies rnoved 
on to the XVest edg.e. Messages were sen.t back to tell 
Brigade that we held Mericourt, and to bring the 
Headquartcrs up there--at present they were about 
thrce rniles back. Frorn "C " Cornpany's pos.ition on 
the high ground East of thc village we lookcd across 
a large valley, at the North end of x.hich could be seen 
Fresnox" le Grand; along the b,otto,m ran the main 
Fresrov-St. Quentin Railway, and on the other side 
a collection of srnall copses was rn.arked on the rnap 
as Bois D'Etaves. Nowhere was there the slightest 
sign of the enernv. In view of the fact that ve were 
particularly ordered to be in Support if an advance 
was rnade, the C.O. would n,ot push on further without 
,orders f0,rn the Brigadier. Meanwhile, he went off to 
look for the rnissing " A " Cornpany, leaving the three 
Cornpanies, " B," " C " and " D," htoldàng the 
village and watching the vallev. 
At 7-30 the leading pla.toon of t'he 5th Linc. Regt. 
came up on our lef.t, and about an hour later the 
French started their advance, and, passing Mericourt 
on the S.outh side, dep[oye.d down the slopes towards 
the Railwav line. 
As soon as General Rowley heard that Merieourt 
was in out hands, he rode up to the village and 
reconnoitred the valley and Fresnoy hirnself frorn "C " 
Cornpany's high gro.und. Seeing that the Frenca were 
meeting nothing rn.ore than ma¢hin,e gun tire, and were 
a.pparently rnaking ood progress, he ordered Captain 


Banwell to move at once into Fresaqov; there was no 
one else available at the m.omen., so we ceased to be 
in Support. The main road had been blown up in 
txvo places, but there were no o,ther o'bstacles, and the 
Company reached the to,wn witlout difficultv. The 
machine gun tire had been vry heavy from the 
Bois l)'Etaves on tbeir right an.d from t-he Railway 
cmbankment, but th.ey lmd had n,o casualties, and 
pa.ssed rapidly along the streets, findi,ng no enem.x, but 
meefi-ig to the'ir surprise several civil[ans, who, over- 
joyed at their " deliverance," were doi,ng ail thev could 
with cups .of eoffee to wel«ome their rescuers. 
For four vears these unhappy people had lix'ed under 
the heel of the German, and the rotting carcases of 
six-mnths' lmrses which littered the street showed 
what lire thev had lived duri,ng that rime. They had 
been taught to hate the English, wlmm thev onlv 
knew as night-b.ombers, and yet, when the Boche was 
being hunted out and offe,red to take all civilians back 
to safetv in mot.or lorries, 300 men, women and 
children, headed bv the Deputy Mayor, heroicallv 
refused to leave ther town, pre.ferring, as they said, 
t;o risk the bombardment and the " brutal Engl.ish " 
than to remain o«e da)" loeger in slaverv. 
At 9-0 o'clock, otler Units ruade their appearance 
in Fresnoy, and the 5th Lincolnshires, with two Com- 
pany Headquarters in the Quarry just outsde the S.\V. 
corner of the town, pus.hed some platoo'ns through to- 
wa.rds the Eastern edge--on the righ¢E of our " C-" 
Company. Capt. N,ichots of th,is Battalicm had hs 
Company round t'he large bouse used bv the Germans 
as a Hospi¢"al, but, except for his, no one seemed 
inclined to push forward in anv stregth. At 11-0 a.m, 


the Brigadier moved his Headquarters into Mericourt, 
and the Boche, presumably thinldng the village was 
now as full as it was likely to be du,ri, ng the da!', shelled 
it vigorously with gas and High Explosive. He paid 
particular attenticm to our ridge of observation, and, 
havi'ng pounded us off this, proceeded to hammer the 
other end of th.e village, wbi.ther we had moved for 
greater comfort. At the same rime several salvoes 
were fired if»to Fresn,oy. Soon afterward-s a message 
from Cptain Banw.ell told us that, with the exception 
of the Railwav and Station, the whole tcwn was in our 
hands. He had tried hard to reach the Railway Em- 
bankment from his side of the tcn, but the machine 
gun tire was very hot, the groun,d absolutely open, 
and after [osing Gosden, a Lmvis Gunner, killed, and 
one or two men woundcd, had decided to wait for some 
Artitlery. Mean.vhile, the Fren,cfi had reached the 
Raihvav further $outh, sothe C.O .sent Lieut. Hawley 
with half " I)" Company to try and take the Stati,0a 
from this side. He moved off to do so at midday, 
leaving C.S.M. Cooper to coa'nmand the other half 
Company. "A "' Company (Edards) now arrived, 
and, with "B " Co.mpany (Cosçr.ove), dug themselves a bank on the South side of Mericourt village. 
Lieut. Hawley and his party ruade their way rapidly 
down to the Quarry, and keeping just inside the 
Southern cmtskirts of the town, soon round the French 
left flank, from which they were able to recnnoitre the 
Raihvav Sta.tio.n. This last scemed t,o be the onlv place 
vhere the enemv was still offeri:ng any resistance, and 
there were apparently three madine guns s.omewhere 
near the Base of a large factorv chim,nev in the Station 
vard. Lieut. Hawlev divided his party into two, and 


while he himself gradually wo,rked his way direct, the 
other part)' under Serjt. Marston, M.M., armed with as 
many bo,mbs as they oald carry, rapidly ruade their 
way round towards the enemy's rear. The Boche 
apparen, th.ought he wo.uld s.oon be turned out, and 
some twentv of them, hurried along by one of out Lewis 
Guns, managed to escape belote we arrived. However, 
they did n.ot all get away, and xxhen Serjt Marston 
lo,bbed his bo.mbs .on to them ff.oto behiad and the others 
came up in front, they round rive Gea-m.ans still sitting 
there with their gun. These were promptly captured 
and sent d,ow, n, and the to«vn was nov entirely in our 
Be.tx een 5-0 and 6-0 p.m. we received orders that the 
5t.h Lineolns,hires would take over the whole of the 
Railway, and that we were to oeme back into Mericourt 
and rest as much as possible. At the saine rime the 
enemy started to bombard Fresnov every available 
gun a.nd hmitzer. For an hour gas a.nd high exptosive 
shells fell in every corner of the town and its immediate 
»urr.oundi«gs. Capt. Banwell, who was returning t.o 
his Company from Headquarters, and the C.O., who 
was trying to find "D " Company, both had a very 
unpleasant time. One runner with the orders for the 
elief did ma.nage to rech "D " Company without 
being hit, and soon after 8-30 p.m. they moved out from 
Fres.nov and dug in,to a bank just outside Mericourt. 
" C " Company, ho.wever, no me was able to find ; it 
was a dark night and co.rtsequenfly ver 3- difficult to keep 
one's direc.lion amongst the little stree.ts and sunken 
lanes in the Nortbern end of the t«vn, where thev had 
taken up thcir posiio,n. The C.O. himself spent a 
large part of the night l0,oking for them vithont success, 


but one of the messlages, which he left at every and 
Hcadquarters he caJled at, eventua[l- found its way to 
Ç«lpt. Banwell, ald beteen mid.nigh,t and 1 a.m. on 
the 10th "' C " Çompan.v at last came out and occupied 
a bank near " D " Co,mpa.ny. Io,st of us had hot 
had anv sleep since we left out " shell-ho.les " Camp at 
dawn o,n the 8th--some of us none since the 7th, and 
when we finallv lay d,own, tired out, we slept far into 
the next dav. 
S.oon after middav on the 10th Iajo,r R. S. Dver reported fo,r duty and took ov.e'r command of the 
Battali.on, Capt. Hills resumed his former duties of 
Adjutant, and for the next few weeks we had no 
Second in Comm.and. At the saine rime orders came 
that the Brigade ,,ould continue its a.dvance on the 
' leap-frog " principle. Eaeh Ba,ttali,n ,ould be g'iven 
a defin,ite o,bjective for the whole of the Brigade 
fro,n,tage, the re'af passing on to the next line 
as soon as each obit:et,ire was ga[ned. We we,re now 
rear Battalion, and m.oved after dinne,rs to the Railwav 
C-utting just outside Fresnov on the Bohain line, where, 
while we ,vaited for further orders, we h'ad teas and 
distr.ibuted ratiorrs fo,r the dav. The Lewis 
Gu.n limbers and c.o.o.kers were now allotted to Com- 
panies, and the rem.ainder of tle 1st Line Transport 
occupied a field cl,os.e to us. 2nd Lieut. Dun.lop, 
I).C. 3I., and 2nd Lieu,t. Tavlo.r returne.d from leave and 
wen.t to " D " and " C " Companies respectively. 
Li.eut. Ashd.owne again became Intelligence Ollcer and 
2nd Lieut. Argyle returned to "B " Compan). Eac.h 
C,mpa.ny had now two otîqcers and " C " Çompany had 
three. So,on after s:ix o'clock we had orders to more 
at dusk to the line of the Ais,onville-Bohain road, now 


held bv the 4th Battalion, and push forward from there 
to the edge of th.e Bois de Riquerval. At the same time 
a patrol of Corps Cvclists was being sent along the 
main road towards Regnicourt, and if they reported that 
the enemy had evaouated this village, o,ur orders were 
to advance during the night to a line running South- 
wards feom there, through the Bois, Io gain t<)uch with 
tbe French at Retheuil Farm. At a Co.mpany Com- 
manders' Conference, held as so,o.n as these orders vere 
received, Major Dyer decided that if Regnicourt 
was cl.ear of the enemy, "C " an.d " D " Companies 
should advance up the main road as far a.s the village, 
and, on reaching it, turn Southwa.rds into the Bois, 
spreading out along the line of out objective. " A " 
Company, keeping toucb wit'h the French, were to 
advance up the " ri,de " on the Sou.thern boundarv of 
the Brigade, while " B " Company, fo.llowed bv Head- 
quarters, would go straight through the wood in the 
centre. \Ve would ail form up in the present positions 
of the 4th Leicestershire and start our advance witl»out 
a barrage at 2-0 a.m.--the llth o,f October. 
As soon as it vas dark we moved off vith out Lewis 
Gun limbers and medical cart, keeping as far as possible 
t, tracks and avoiding ail main voads. 
Tbere was s.ome gas hanging rou.nd the Bois D'Etaves, 
but ve were not worried bv this, and soon reached the 
Seboneourt-Boh.ain load, held bv the 5th Li.ncoInshires. 
From here onwards the route was rot so easy to find, 
but v.e m,anaged to take out limbers to x,ithin a few 
hun,dred vards of the th Batlati.on Headquarters and 
here, after Lewis Gu.n,s and Ammunition to 
Plaoon,s, the Companies were met by guides and moved 
forward to their assemblv positions. Meanwhile 

Lieut. J. C. Barrett, 1/.OE. 


Battal.ion He'adquarters moved irto the farm bouse 
already occupied by t'he 4th Battali,o,n. In the cellar 
we f.ound, in addition to the usual Headquarter Officers, 
a French Int.erpreter, and part of a French Liaison 
platoon, no a, ir, very little ligh.t, but plenty of tobacco 
smoke. Soon a%er we arrived a message from Brigade 
told us that the Cyclists had met with n,o esaemy as far 
as Regrfi,eourt, but had found a patrol of about twenty 
in that village and had been fired on by tlaem. "We vere 
discussing this, when sudde'nly there was a scuffling 
.cxerhead and we w.ere told that there was " something 
ticking sornewhere," and that left the 
bouse. The cellar occupan.ts vere hot slow to follo.w, 
and thinking of time-bombs an.d infernal machines 
manag'ed to empty the cellar in a rec.ord time. 
setfled down u.nco.rnfortably under a hedge, an.d 
prepared to read and write ord-ers with a concealed 
electric torch--uhe maximum of diseomf.ort. However, 
we did no,t bave to stay there long, as a runner came t,o 
tell us that the origin of the " ticking " had now been 
discovered, and, as it was nothing more formidable thon 
the recently wo.und up dining room dock, we returned 
to the cellar. Major Dver Bennet, a.rguiag that, if the 
Cyclists could get as far as Regn,itourt, we should reach 
our objective without difficulty, decided that the attack 
should be carried out as arranged, and, sending the 
Adju'tant to find the 6th Divisio,n, moved up himself to. 
the Ais,cnville Road, leaving only the Aid Post and some 
Signallers and sewants at the Farm. 
The Aisonville Road ra-n almost due N. and S;o.uth 
along a valley; between it and the edge of the Bois de 
Riquerval was open ground for about 300 vards sloping 
gently up t,o Che xx:ood. A s,mall cottage marked the 


start of " A " Co,mpany's " ride," and the stretch of 
road immediately N. of this was deeply sunken. Here 
" A " C,ompany formed up and tr[ed to find the Freneh 
,ho were coesiderably further South than we expe¢ted. 
Incidentallv they were hot as far forward as we were, 
and the Boche enfiladed the about midnight with a 
whizz-bang battery from the South. "B " Company 
formed up in an is.olated copse about 100 yards East of 
the voad into which t'he 4th Battalon had ruade their 
wav during the aftern,oo.n. The left half Battalion 
remained along the road bank and in a drv ditch 50 
yards \V. of it, near o the junction with the Regrdcourt 
Road up which they we, re to advance. There was one 
solitary house, protected bv the hillside, which provided 
C, ompany Hcadquartcrs with a certain amount of cover. 
The night xws dark and the en.emy, except for the 
whizz-bangs on " A " Company, very 
Soon after midniht the Adjurant returned from the 
6th Division. He had round that the 1st Leicester- 
shires were on their right flank, and they were 
-oing to continue their advance at 5-15 a.m. on the 
llth. Mai.or Dver Bennet therefore decided to post- 
pone our attack until that h,our, so that we might all go 
f, orward t.ogether. In anv case it seemed likeJy that this 
would be a better plan, as it would be daylight soon 
after the advance s.tarted; and, on so wide a frcmtage, 
it would bave been almost impossible to maintain 
direction in the woods by niht, especially without a 
moon. At 5 o'clock we were ail formed up along the 
road, Battalion Headquarters close to " A " Company, 
and a,t 5-15 a.m. in a.bsolute silence and without a 
barrage xve started to ct.imb the ris,e towards the edge of 
the wood. 


The left half Battaion along the Regnicourt Road 
ruade most progress without meeting any opposition. 
'" D " Company leading', they advanced bv platoo,ns on 
both sides of the road," touch with the 1st 
Battalion on their left, and had g'one nearly a mlle 
before they were checked bv mach,in.e-gun tire ahead of 
them. Half-way from their starting poi.n.t to Regni- 
court stood a little group of honses at the top of a 
small hill, and from here, as well as from the thick 
scrub and underKrowth which co«-ered the country on 
both sides, the enemy's machine gun.ners had a good 
taret. Tlinking that this was probably some small 
post left be.hind bv the Boche as he retired, and knowing 
that th.e cvctists had been thro,uh the previous night, 
Lieut. Hawley declded to attack at once, and "D " 
Company, making use of ail the cover they could find, 
worked their wav up the hill and sooe captured the 
bouse. One German came out inlo the road with his gun and started to tire at them point blank, 
but the leading Plato:m got their Le,vis Gun irto action, 
and, kn.ocking out the Boche, captured the gun. The 
two leading Pl.atoe.ns of " D " Comlaany had deployed, 
and, with 2nd Lieut. Dunl.op on the left of the road and 
the others on the right, tried to con.ri'nue their advance. 
Seen from below, the group of had seemed to 
b.e on the top of the hill, but bevond them the, 
after a slight dip, rose again to a ridge 300 vards 
further East, and here the enemv xere in considerable 
force. Several gallant attempts to advance were 
frustrated bv verv heavv machine gun tire, and having 
los.t Se, rjts. Bradshaw and Dimmocks killed, and several 
others wounded, the Company was compelled to remain 
lying fiat just bev.cad the houses. One little party had 


take.n cover in the ditch along th.e roads,ide and were 
seen bv the German machine gun.ner. The ditch became 
a death trap. Hodges and Lcmgd,n, the runners, and 
Maw, the Signaller, were kill.ed, and Hall, ano.ther 
runner, badlv wounded; Serjt. Foster and L/Cpl. 
Osborne, b,oth ,of whom had done particularly good 
work, were w.0,unded, and the casualties were very 
heavv indeed. In half-an-hour this Company lost 10 
ldlled 14 wounded and o,ne prisoner. It was obvious 
th,at tbe Cvclists had never been fu:rther these 
bouses, whfich they must have m.istaken for Regnicourt, 
and their repo.t:t was consequently w<rthl,ess. 
Capt. Banxv,ell now arrived wiCh t»o platoons of "C" 
Company, and thinking it possible that the 
on the right migh.t noet bave go,t as far even as "D " 
Ç,any, decided to pço.tect the right flank from anv 
possible cou.nter-attack. He sent off Serjt. Tunks and 
No. 11 Plaloo,n to p,m.long " D " Company's line to the 
right; thev did this and managed to advance a few 
vards further before beinR" compelled to dig in and keep 
very fiat bv the enemv's machine guns. A few minutes 
later 2nd Lieut. Griffiths foll.owed with h.i.s platoon, to 
work Southwards into the woods to try and find the 
cen.tre Çompany, or at least discover how they were 
s.ituated. Thev managed to advanc.e about 400 yards 
before thev to.o met with tierce oppos?doaa, and had 
three men cut off and captured by a s,trong party of 
Boche concealed in the undergr, o.xxth. Eventually, to find any trace of " B " Co.mpany, 2nd Lieut. 
Griffiths decided to " dig in " wher.e he was, and bv 
doing so extended " C " Company-'s line s'till furtber to 
the, bending back slightly to prooEect the flank. 
At 8-0 a.m. the 1st Bàttalion on the left had reached 


the same line and were similarlv held up. Capt. 
Banwell therefore repolt.ed to Headqu.arters that further 
advance without artillerv support was impossible, and 
that "C" and "D " Cornpanies wcre h.olding a line 
rulming Southwards for 400 yards frorn the group of 
h,ouses, into the Bois de Riqu.erval, and wo,uld wait 
there for instructions. 
Meanwhile the centre and right had fared even worse. 
In the centre " t3 " Company, forrned up originally in 
an isolated copse, moved forward at 5-15 a.rn. in two 
parties towards the part of the wood. The left 
hand party under '2nd Lieut. Argylc h,ad plenty of co.ver 
for the first half-rnile and pusJaed on rapidly', until, 
corning over a srnall crest into the open, they too met 
with heavv rnachine-gun tire. After several ineffectual 
efforts to advance, thev dug thernselves in and rernained 
there for the rest o,f the day, replying to the Boche tire 
with their Lewis Guns, but with no visible effect. (lt 
was aftcrwards discovercd that this party were less than 
100 vards behind 2nd Lieut. Griffiths' platoon, unabl.e to 
see each other owing to a " fold " in the ground). The 
othe.r h'alf Cornpny under 2nd Lieut. Cosgrove started 
their advance acr.oss an absolutely open patch of 
ground, slopin.. gently downwards towards the centre 
of the woods. Thev had gone a few yards when the 
day'l,ight sho,wed their position to the Boche, and for the 
next half-hour they suffered heavily. Lying on the 
forward slope, :ith no cover, they saw 50 yards awav 
on their right two small but dee.p trenches. One rnan 
tried to run there and was hit a few yards from thern ; 
another had better luck and got there safel, throuffh a 
perfect strearn of bullets fmm three guns. '2nd Lieut. 
Cosgrove hirnself wa.s badlv rounded and had to be 


carried out, so also was Serjt. Muggleston. The others, 
sorne crawling and sorne running, gradually collected in 
the two trenches and rernained there for the rest of the 
On the extrerne right "A " Cornpany (Edxvards) 
rnade no headwav at ail. Between the road and the 
edge of the wood was about 150 yards of open ground, 
across which tan a Z-shaped hedge, while, at the point 
where the '" ride " entered the wo.o.d, stood a Chateau 
and a large black hut comrnanding all the country 
round. Day'light carn.e soon after they left the road 
and with it a burst o,f heavy rnachin.e-gun tire frorn the 
Chateau at clos.e range, which split the Company into 
three parts. Headqu,arters and one platoo.n found sorne 
cover round the little house on the crner where they 
started; near thern in a bank was 2nd Lieut. Dennis 
with h,is platoon, while the rernainder, under Cpls. 
Thornpslon and Shilton, were in the Z-shaped hedge, 
urmble to sh,ow thernselves without being fired at. On 
their right the French had captured Retheuil and Forte 
At 5-20 a.rn., Major Dver Bennet, fi, nding it irnpos- 
»ible to see anything of " A "' and '" B "' Cornpanies, 
decided fo advance his Headquarters, keeping as far as 
possible to the centre of the Brigade fr,ontage. Accrn- 
p,an,.ied by the Adjutant, R.S.M., a few runners, and the 
Fren«h Interpreter, he set off for the edge of the wood, 
which was reached xithout; but the oeernv's 
machine gun's at the Chateau, 200 yards away on the 
rig-ht, and sligh,tly below us, plain, ly told us that " A " 
Cornpany had not gone f,o,rward. A distmace 
awav on the le.ft, conce31ed bv a wall and the co.rner of 
the wood, another gun was firing across at "'B '" 


Compan.v, wh.o could be seen on th:e o.p.posite hillside 
trying to reach the cover o.f their two trenches. The 
Headquarter part.,," was too small to be able to help, so 
while the Adjuta»t went back to try and find some 
reinf, orcements, the Interpreter, Hen,ri Letu, ruade a 
most gall.ant reconnaissance into the wo,ods to see if he 
could gather anv information. The " reinforcements 
consisted of a plat.oon of French soldiers, a Lewis Gun 
team of the 4th Ba.ttalion and two sign.allers. At the 
sme rime the M.O. and Intelligence Officer (Lieut. 
Ashdo.wne) arrived, and the latter, taking two men with 
him, socn d.vove out the enemy from the " co.rsaer wall " 
post o.n the left. The Battalion Headquarter flag was 
hung o.ut in a conspicuous tree, signal communicatio.n 
was oçened with the original Headquarter Farmhouse, 
a.nd at about 8 o'clock the party was sfill further 
reinforced bv the arrival of Cpl. Th,ompson and No. 1 
Plat.o.on of "A " Company, whom the Adjutant had 
discovered under the "Z " shaped hedge. AIl these 
m.ovements to be carried out with great care, as 
any visible activitv at once drew tire from the Chateau. 
This Chateau Major Dver Bennet now decided to 
attack, and soon after 9.0 a.m. a part.v consisting of 
No. 1 Platoon and some Frenchmen set off uder the 
Adjutant Izo do so. Cpl. Sh.ilto.n and a few men were 
sent through gardes to engage the enemy 
their right flank; the Lewis gun, under Cpl. Thompso,n, 
went tho,ugh the woods to trv aud attack the buildings 
from the rear; the Frenchmen advancing stilI further 
into. the woods, protected the left flank. Çpl. Thomp- 
son's part.v were s.oon engaged. They had pushed 
forward rapidly for about 50 vards when suddenlv Pte. 
Unde.l'wood, who was leading, jumped behind a tree 


and fired. Nine Boches seemed to come out of the 
gro.und almost at our feet, and for a few minutes there 
was some lively fighting rund the trees. The Germans 
managed to kill Pte. Blythe, a verv old so,ldier of the 
Battal{on, and then ruade off, leaving one wounded man 
behind th.em. This little fight had given the alarm to 
the party in the Chateau, and though Cpl. Thompszn 
pushed forxxard with great courage it was too late to 
catch them, and we entered the house and grounds with- 
out furthe.r opposition. The fall of the Chateau enabled 
the remainder of " A " Company tx) advance and occupy 
the edge of the wood, which thev at once did, putting 
out several posts round the buildings. The Adjutant's 
party then returned .t'o Battalion Headquarters which 
had been left ver»" weak during the attack. Soon after- 
wards, as the situation now seemed fairly satisfactorv 
the xxlounded prisoner was sent down under the -Ith 
Leic. Lewis Gun Secticn, who were no longer required. 
At 10-0 a.m. we were iust oonsidering the possibility 
of pushing f, orward still further when a sudden brst of 
machin,e gun tire, sxvee-ping low over out positiors, drove 
us to eover. The Fren,ch had apparen.tly been counter- 
attack.ed out of Retheuil and Forte Farms and the 
Boche from these new positions overlooked us 
completely. Under cover of this tire a strong hostile 
eou.nter-attack was launched against the Chateau, and 
"A " Company were once more driven back to the 
road, leaving seve.ral men prisoners behind them. But 
the road too was no,w overloked and, though sunken, 
xx;as no protec.tion, so that, unable 15o stav in it, thev 
moved to a small bank on the XV. side of it and dug in 
there. 2nd Lieut. Edwards was wo.unded and sent 
down, and the Company was commanded bv _°nd Lieut. 


Dennis. At Headquarters, L/Cpl. Ext,on, who had just 
arrived with a message fvom " B " Co,mpany, was killed 
aad a s.tretcher-bea, re.r badlv wounded. Capt. Jack, 
the M.O. went off t, tend the latter, and was himself 
badlv hit in the bodv; an,other stvetcher-bearer was hit to get to him, and for a short rime he had to be 
left. A few minutes later the enemy's tire slackened; 
the M.O. was carried away, and, though he lived to 
reach the Ambulance, died there in the evening. 
Captain Jack had been with us just a year, and we felt 
ver 3" kenlv the loss of his cheevful pre'sence at Ba.ttali,cm 
Headquarters, for he was one .of hose men who were 
never depressed, and even in the worst of places and at 
the wors,t of times used to keep us happy. 
The Adjutan.t n.ow went back again t.o the old Farm 
House t.o see if he could find out what had happened to 
the other tvo Companies. The 4th Leicestershires had 
been relieved, and the 5th South Staff.ordshires had 
taken over the Farm and were now preparlng to relieve 
us in the line if possible. Captain Salte.r was there 
from Brigade Headquarters and undero<k to send relief 
ordes t,o the L.eft half Battalion, h,ose posi¢ion was 
iiow kn.own. 
Meanwhile the South Staffordshir, es mo.ved up to the 
copse whenee " B " Comp.any had started, and a Com- 
pany occupied the line along the bottom of the "Z " 
hedge to the " xvall and corner " pos,itioni.e., about 
200 vards behind the line held by Battalion H,ead- 
quarters and " A " Company. The relief o,f tfre Left 
hall Bat.talion, though difficult, was carried out in day- 
light, and was complete by 11-.30 a.m., largely owing to 
the energy of the Staff, ordshlre Company Commanders. the crest bv the group of bouses xvas bv no 


means an easv matter, and both relievers and relieved 
had to crawl through the scrub, in hich 2nd Lieut. 
F. G. Tavlor of "Ç " Comp.any did particularly go.od 
xvork, while for " D " Company C.S.M. Cooper worked 
magn.ificen.tly. Three Platoon Serjeants had become 
oasualt{es and this \\'arrant Olficer did all their work 
himself, renderilg invaluable assistance to his Company 
Cmlnand er. 
The relief of Battalion Headqu.arters and the Right 
hall Battalioa was impo,ssible during daylight, and the 
«;.O.C. 137th Infanl:rv Brigade took over the command 
of the line as soon as our " C " and " D " Co.mpanies 
were relieved, while the test of our Brigade moved back 
inm billets at Fresnoy le Grand; we were to follow 
wh.en relieved. Meanwhile, arrangements were being 
m.ade t'or s,ome Artille W and Tank support, and it was 
proposed to try a furtaer advance during the afternoon. 
At the same rime the Chateau was reeaptured from us, 
the position on "he edge of the wood had becwme so 
badlv enfiladed that the He.adquarters moved out and 
started o dig a new line in the open, where, as the 
Staffordshi,res were holding the " wall and corner '" 
position, we wele fairlv sale. About mid-day, ho.wever, 
as ,the enemv had become quiete.r, we returned once 
more to the edg.e of the ood. It was never verv 
oomfortable in this isolated position, but Lieut. 
Ashdowne and R.S.M. Lovett s,howed the most 
wonderful coolness, and were oontinuallv out looking 
for new positions or watch.isag th.e flanks. At 2-0 p.m. 
th.e Staffordshires received orders that they would have 
the help of tw.o Tanks fo.r their attack, which would 
start at 4-0 p.m. fro.m the isv)lated oopse. At about 
3-0 p.m. the enemv again started to enfilade out wood 


position so badly, that for the las.t time we decided to 
leave it and came back to out line in the open, which 
we deepe.rted as quickly as po,s.s-[ble; it was hard work 
a,s the men lmd to dig with tl»eir entrenching tools 
as thev [av fiat. \Ve had not, h,owever, been long in 
this position belote the Staffordshires behind us with- 
drew to form up for the attack, and, tkough the party 
at the "Z " hedge remained, the other party left the 
" wall and corner " unprotected. .Meanwhile, thinking 
that, if not relievcd soon, we s.hould be surrounded from 
the right flank, .Major l)ver Bennet went back to 
recon,noitre s)me deep short lengths of trenches about 
100 yards in rear, that if the attack did not 
prove success.ful he ould bring B.attalion Headquarters 
back into them. 
At 4-0 p.m. there was no sign of the attack, lnstead, 
a German machine gun cre.w returned to the now empty 
" wall and corner " position and started to enfilade out 
left flank, m.aking the bill side alm,os,t uncrossable. The 
C.O. deeided to wit.hdraw at once, aud at 4-30 p.m. the 
runner, Blindley, set off with the message. It was a 
bazardous journey, but he suceeeded i crawling to 
witbin a few vards of the end man and passed a 
rn, essage a[ong. Steadied bv the R.S.M., the party 
started one by one to withdraw, whŒEle the enemy kept 
up a heavy tire at t'hem. Fkxr a momen-t it looked as 
though it would be impossible to get back, but Pte. 
Cau-nteç--Lewis Gunner of N.o. 1 P]a.toon--ealmly 
rnounted his nn and " traversed " the whole edge of 
the wood. The Boche were silenced for the moment, 
and the party, mak,ing a rush at th.e saine rime, 
rnanag'ed to reach the trenches in safetv. Last of ail 
Caunter calmlv picked up lais gun and came away 


h,imself, fived at, but never hit. Half-an«hour later two 
tanins atppeared, and ke.epin on the Vest side af the 
Aisonville R,oad, climbed the rise towards Retheuil 
Farm. rVhether th,e enemy imained a gen,eral attack 
»as coming, or merely mated to make the ro,ad 
dang.erous, is hot known, but at 5-0 p.m. he star.ted to 
bombard the ar, ea at the foot of the " Z '" shaped hedge, 
• vhere a Company o-f Staffords.hires, our Battalion Head- 
quarers, and cur "A "' Company were all athered, 
and for nearly an trour gas and H.E.s.hells of every 
cal,ibre fell ail round. Ther.e was l.ittle or no cover, 
and had the s'hells been ail H.E.t.he casualties would 
bave bee.n tremendous. As it was we escaped lightly, 
but th,e valley became full of gas and we could see 
n.cthing. The posifion was bad, so Major Dver Bennet 
order.ed a general xx,ithdrawal to a 1,inc along high 
gound on both sid,es of the Aiso,nville-road--the 
remi.ns of "B " Company under Lieut. Ashdowne to 
th,e left and "A " Company tlo the right. Here we 
once more du K a line of pits, and by 7-30 p.m. had out 
new positi.on in fighting condition, wh.ile a succession of 
explosions, coming from t»o blazing heaps near 
Retheuil Farm, showed how the Tanks ,had fared. The 
wh.oie of these opera.tions h'ad begn most diflàcult and, 
in addition to those wh,o had been eoinspicu.ous in the 
attack on the Chateau in the morning, manv other 
N.C.O.'s and men sh.owed the utmost courag, e and 
cooln.ess. A/C.S.M. Smith, of "A " Compan.v, and 
Serjts. YVilbur and Swift and Cpl. Hubbard of Battalion 
Headquarters, orked part'icularly well. 
At 8-0 p.m. we were relieved by the 5th South 
Staff<)'rdshires and, after plaoing Le'i,s Guns on the 
limbers, which had been waiting ail dav for us behind 


the farm, wen't to Fresnoy. It can h.a,rdly be called a 
march, and few of us remember much about it. Those 
on slept, thos,e on f,t wal.ked in their slee.p and up hencver t3ere was a h.alt, bec.ause they hit 
their he'ads against the haversacks of the men in front. 
Soon after 11-0 p.m., tired out, ve reaehed Fresnoy 
and dropped down in th.e billets the R.ight h'alf Ba-ttalio,n 
hd fio,und fo.r us, m.urmuring as we did so--" Now we 
shall bave our rest." 



12th Oct., 1918. llth Nov., :!.918. 
TUE following day--the 12tb of October--our bopes 
of the long expected test were still further raised by the 
news that General Rowley was going to England on 
leave, for we all knew th:at h.e would never be absent if 
there were anv prospect of a fight, and we accordingly 
began at once to make ourselves aomfortable. Fuel 
was plen-tiful, and baths were so.on fitted in "C '" 
Company's factory, while in another part of the saine 
build[ng we round and used an excelleat concert room. 
R.S.M. Lovett also went on leave, taking xoith him to 
Loughborough one or two small battle trophies, includ- 
ing out Headquarter flag, hich had sen so much 
fighting during th.e past few weeks. Many of "B " 
.Company's gassed men now retur.ned, and these, with 
a large draft of N.C.O.'s and men, pr.oved a welaome 
reinforcement, but we still had verv few officers. The 
new draft was composed mostlv of young sldiers who 
had hot seen service belote, but fortun.atelv this did hot 
matter, as we st]ll had a number of out experienced 
junior N.C.O.'s left, and some " new blood " was 
Meanwhile the Staffordshires staved in the line, and, 
as bv the 13th t'here was no prospect of their being 


relieved, we were not surpris,ed on lh.e 14th to receive 
some more battle orders, and ocrsign our rest hopes, 
1,ik.e their predecessors, to an early grave. It appeared 
that all frontal attacks on Riquerval YVood had proved 
disastrous, and, although the 6th |)ivision on the left 
had reached the outski.rts of Vux Andigny, out 
Divisional front was still the saine as we had left it on 
the l lth. The new attack, to take place on the 17th, 
would therefore be directed against the North XYest 
flank o,f the ood, and would be ruade by ourselves and 
the 139th Brigade, while the Staffo,rdshires ruade a 
frontal display. The French, on the vight, xvere making 
a similar movement, and there ould be a general 
attack North of us. It vas hcped that by the end of 
the day, or befcre if possible, the Frenc,h and ourselves 
would me,e,t on the Eas.t side o.f the vods at Mennevret, 
and so cut off anv Germans xho remained on the 
Staffordsh.ires' front. The actual objective for the 
Brigade the saine Regnicourt road up which the 
Left hall Battafion had advanced on t.he llth; this vas 
tobe taken by the oher two Battaioas, while we were 
kept in reserve near Vaux Andigny. 
The usual rec.onnaissances were carried out on the 
15th, and the f, ollowing morning the cus.tomary distribu- 
tion o,f bombs, flares, rocke,ts and oher warlike 
paraphernalia took place. This vas donc with great 
regt»larity belote eve.ry battle, and yet oe reaching an 
objective we co.uld never find the required rockets. The 
men carr.ving them seemed i.nvariably to become 
easualties. It was the saine with equipment and other 
n'eces.sariesxe started the dav with everything and 
ended vith nothing. A verv welcoe issue was the 
nev map o,f Riquerval XVoeds, ruade from the most 


recent aeroplane phoEographs, and accurate; the old 
one, co.mpiled from a survey, still a 
thick forest the groun.d where the Boche had cut do.wn 
every vestige of a tree, and its inaccuracies in this 
respect had been one of out greatest difficul.ties in the 
previous battle. Vvïth the map came an issue of 
officers, rive reporting during the afternoo% but as they 
were al,l new 1o the Battalio.n, they remained with the 
Otlr match to the Assemblv position was tedious, but 
we were not xvorried at all by the enemy, for, to avoid 
Bol»ain, which was at this rime frequently shelled, a 
track h,ad been taped o,ut across oounqcry. As we xvere 
the first 1o use t.his, we escaped the usual slipping and 
ploughing through mud, which are a bad feature of 
most tracks in autumn. Lexis Gun limbers and Tool 
carts went by the and reached the Andigny- 
Becquigny Railway line---out as,semblv position--before 
us, so that as each Platoon arrived it was able to collect 
its guns and to.ols and more straight t,o its position. 
rvVe rapidly dug ourselves some excellent cover, and 
were able to take no notice of some four point twos 
wlich arrived during the night, though the other two 
Battalions, who had to assemble near the Andigny Road, 
suffered fairly heavily. 
At 5-20 a.m. on the 17th the barrage .opened and the 
battle began in a mist, which was rhicker even than 
usual. Many Tanks accompanied by the Highl.anders 
of the 1st Division, came through our position and 
passed doxn the hill towards Andigny, but of out ox'n 
Brigade we could sec nothing, and could only judge by 
the of the enemv's machine gun tire, that the 
attack was successful. It must be admitted that our 


attention was somewhat distrac, ted by the appearance of 
a hare, rather frightened bv a Tank, and we forgot the 
battle to give chase. It was a short but exciting run, 
and the victim was finallv donc to death by "D " 
Co,mpany and pro'ide.d the Serjean,ts xvith a good 
dinner. It was n.ot m»til 10-0 a.m. that we first learnt 
ho,w the attackers had fared. On th,e right o,ur Brigade 
had taken their Regnic.ourt road objective, but in the 
fog several posts of the German fro,nt line had been 
missed and xveve still causing trouble, preven.ting the 
complete capture of the village of Andigny les Fermes, 
the left of out objective. In the saine wav the 6th 
Division had missed posts in the two fatras Gobelets and 
Bell.evue on their front, and we wer, e o.rdered to send 
two companies to clean up these places and generally 
a,ssist wit'h the left of the attack. A few minutes later, 
however, this order was caneelled, as the 5th Lincoln- 
shires and 6th Division beh repo.rted that they no.w 
held ail objectives. Ins.tead, "B" Company (Pierrepo,nt) 
and "C " Company (Banwell) were placed at the 
disposal of Colon'el \Vilson o.f the 5th Lincolnshires, 
to exploi,t h, is success and pa,trol the Mennevret 
road to meet th-e Fre-nch, and at 11-30 a.m. these two 
Companies moved off to the old Ge.rman front line and 
waited there for ins.tructions. Col. Vilso,n de¢ided to 
use one Co,mpany o,nly, and at 2-0 p.m. Capt. Pierre- 
pont moved his Headquarters into Andigny les Fermes 
and sent off a strong patrol under 2nd Lieut. Davies 
towards Mennevret. As the enemv was still holding 
the woods in considerable strength, and the first toile of 
the road was under direct observation, the patrol met 
with heavv machine-gun tire at once, and 2nd Lieut. 
Davies return'ed for the rime, preparing to make ano,th, er 


attempt when the advance of the l)ivisi.ons on our left 
had ruade i.t impos.sible for the Boche t.o remain in his 
pcsi.ti,ons near the E. edge of the village. Hall "A " 
Company had alreadv been attached to the 4th 
Leicestershires for carrying w,ork, so that we had now 
onlv "D " Company (Hawley) and the remainder o.f 
" A " Company uith Battalion Headquarters. No more 
orders came for us, and during the afternoon, as the 
sounds of war had become more and more distant, 
Cavalrv and \Vhippets had disappeared Eastwards and 
there was nothing to do, we lav and basked in the sun, 
which was verv hot and pleasant. 
At 6-0 p.m., just as the Boche started to tire gas 
shells the valley up which ail troops had to pass 
to reach Andigny les Fermes, orders came that we 
s'huld take o.ver the Brigade fron'.t. Acçordingly, " A " 
and " i)" Çompanies were sent to rel.ieve the 4th 
Battalion on the righ.t, "C " Copany xvas made 
responsible for Andigny les Fermes, and the extreme 
left was held bv " B " Company, whose du-tv it s.till was 
to find the French. The relief in the village might have 
been a verv lengthy and difficu.l.t proceeding had hot 
Capt. Nichols, of the Lincolnshires, taken great trouble 
to co-ordinate the work of all their three Companies, 
and so been able to hand o'er to Captain Banwell a 
slngle complete scheme of de.fence. OŒElr Headquarters 
moved into the sunken road between Regnicourt and 
Vatix Andigny. h was a dark, foggy and bi,tterly cold 
night, and, experts as we had now become in the art of 
living in banks and s.unken roads, still it was impossible 
to be c,omf,ortable, and German wat.erproof sheets spread 
over Mots cut in the banks, fa[led mos.t miserably to 
keep us warm. Transport arlived midnigh,t and 


the drivers, as usual, saved us endl,ess carryi«ag parties 
bv taking the limbers right up to Ccmpany Hed- 
quarters in the village. Thev w,re unmolested by the 
enem.v, and nd Lieut. l)avies, seeing this, ruade another 
attempt to reach Mennevret. His patrol ruade much 
more progress, and was onlv held up at La Nation, a 
cross-roads a few hundred yards from hs goal, but here 
he met with b.ombs and more machine guns and had 
.once more to rail back. 
At 1-0 a.m., the 18th, we were order.ed to take over 
the line on the East .ide of the village from a Battalion 
of the 1st Division, who had rel.ieved the 6th Division 
and were now on out left flank. For this purpose the 
1.ucklcss "D " Company, who had just settled do.wn 
after relieving the 4th Battalion, had to re.ove across 
out front and take over the new line, which consisted of 
four large shell and a shallow sunken lan.e. In 
spite of the diliculties of darkness and fog, relief was 
complete before dawn when the 1st Division m:oved 
fornvard towards \Vassigny, and we were able to look 
round out ne«v sector. \Ve round a,tly relie in the 
sunken lan.e where a Gexman cooks' wag,on had been hit 
bv one of out shclls as it tried to escape, and now, in the 
earlv morning light, the scattered remains of wagon, 
horss a.nd cooks, ail smashed up, were a horrible sight. 
At las, at 5-30 a.m., -°nd Lieut. 1)avies and Serit. 
\Vhitxorth met the French near M¢nnevrt, and after 
an enthusiastic exchange of greetings, accompanied bv 
much handshaking, arrangemen.ts were ruade for 
es.tablis.h,ing a line the Nation road, and so cutting 
ut the other txvo Brigades, who for some time past 
had been arguing vig.orously as to whose dutv it was 
.o fill th,e gap between ourselves and the French. At 


the saine time a singl.e weak-looking Boche came out of 
the noxv complet.ely surrounded Riquerval Vo.od and 
surrendered to '" C " Company, into wh.ose cetlar Head- 
quavters he was at once escorted. Here, while being 
questined by txvo officers, of wh,oto co.uld speak 
German, he abs,ent-mindedly picked up a German 
gren;ade which was lying on the flo,or, creating, of 
oourse, an immediate disturbance. Rev.oivers appeared 
on ail sides, and the visitor's lire was nearly ended, but 
as it was reallv absent-mindedness and hot the fightîng 
spirit which prompted him, peace was soo restored, 
and he explained that there were "4 others who wished 
fo surrender. He wanted to go back and fetch them, 
and seemed in fact quite pa.ined when we would hot let 
him and sent him down i.nstead. A few minutes later 
a batterv of 8in. howitzers with tracto,rs and moto,r 
l.orries came along the main road as far as the end of 
the village, having been told that the road was ctear up 
to Andigny les Fermes. The Colonel of R.G.A. who 
commanded was surprised to hear of the "2t Boche, who 
for ail we knew might be within 100 vards of his lorries, 
but instead of withdrawing for the time, h.e set off with 
Çapt. Banwell into the woods to look for them, happy 
as a sch,oolbm" engaged ,in some forbidden adventure. 
Thev f.ound n.o one, but probably, il: there xvere any at 
ail, they had bv this rime surrendered to the Stafford- res. 
From dawn until 10-30 a.m. the enemv bombarded 
our village with ga,s and H.E., and the Brigade Major 
(Capt. D. Hill, M.C.) wh,o tried Io go round the front 
line posts at this time had an unpleasant journey, while, 
shortlx" after him, the C.O. and Adjutant were similarlv 
treated and had to hurrv in a most undignified manner 


through an orchard. However, n'o damage was done, 
and, when at middav we were relieved bv the Stafford- 
shires, we had had no casualties. As we mar:hed out 
past the little group of ho,uses on th,e R.egnicourt Rcad, 
where " I)" Company had fought so gallantly on the 
llth, the Bur.ial Party were ju»t burying Serjeants 
Bradshaw, l)immocks and the others in a little cemetery 
whioh had been ruade in one of the cottage gardens, 
and thev lie now within a few yards of where they 
fell. The rest of the march was a ch,eerful affuir, for 
it was a bright afternoon and we were no.t as tired 
as usual after a battle. I)rums and Band came out to 
meet us, the people o.f Bo,hain greeted us on the way, 
and our old fr.icnds in Fresn.ov gave us their customary 
warm welcome. Hcre we were a little more crowded 
than before, but still had plenty o,f room, and could 
lc,ok f.orward to a comfortable rest. The following 
day, after a full l)ivis[onal Curch Parade to return 
thanks fcr our victories, we were definitelv promised 
a fortnight's test, and General Bord and manv others 
went home n leave. 
For the test of the mo.nth the Battalion remained 
in Fresnov le Grand, training, refitting, and playing 
gaines. Here, Lt.-Col. A. J. Digan, D.S.O., of the 
Connaught Rangers came to oomm.and us, and Major 
R. N. H.o.lmes, M.C, of the Lincclnshires to be œend 
in Command. As we had already Majo,r 1)ver Bennet 
and the Adjurant, xvho " put up " c,rwns before 
oing on le,ave, as aspirants for this plition, Majo.r 
Holmes was transferred to the 137th Brigade. Lieut. 
T. H. Ball returned from leave, and in addition to the 
rive, nine o,ther officers arrived, Cpt. E. G., M.C., from the -°/4th Battalio,n, and the two 


" old hands " Lieut. C. S. Allen and 2nd Li.eut. J. A. 
Hews,on. Capt. Snaith went to "A " Company, and 
the other two became Signalling and InteIllgence 
officers r.espectively as soon as active operatfi,ons began 
again. Out work consisted of steady drill, musketry 
and, in tbe evenings, lectures, the best of whioh xvere 
(3ol. Jerram's on the '" Royal Nav.v," and the Brigade 
Interpreter M. l)ovet's on " French .oErmv Lire," the 
latter xvas particularly interesting. The Drums now 
under Serjt. l)rummer Price perf.orm.ed cn everv 
possible occasion, and ruade an excellent display with 
the two new Teno,r Drums which had arrived during 
the fighting, and now appeared in public fcr the firs,t 
rime. The th.rcughout the fo.rtnight xvas hot 
perfect, but might bave been far xvorse, and we were 
able to play gaines almost everv afternoon. Out 
fixtures included txv fco,tball against the 
French. The first, at Seboncourt, was against the 55th 
Infantry, xvhose liaison platoon had doe such splendid 
w.ork at ILiquerval, and tbe gaine, thanks to the efforts 
of Start and Corporal Shirlev Hubbard, ended in a 
victory, 5-1--a fact xvbich merelv increased tbe fervour 
of the welcome we received frcm our opponents. A 
fexv davs l.ater some French sappers came to play us 
at Fres.noy, and they, too, were defeated, 5-0, in an 
excellent gaine xvatched bv manv people. The language 
on both these occasions would sound as foreign in 
London as in Paris, but riais did n,ct in the least diminish 
the cordialitv of the Entente. In tIfis wav tbe fortnight 
soon passed, and on November 1st xve left Fresnov. 
Our firs.t more xxas to Becquigny, xvbere we arrived 
soon after midday, and found go0d bill.ets xvith plenty 
of accommodation. In the evening, orders came that 


at an early date the IXth. Corps, with 1st and 3"2nd 
Divis,ions in front and 46th in Reserve, would attack 
the German positions cn the Sambre- Oise Canal, which 
had been holding out for th.e past ten days. The next 
dav the otficers rode thro.ugh Molain to Ribeauville and, 
leaving lorses there, reconnoitred an assemblv pos,ition 
North of Mazinghien. The C.O. and Company C,o.m- 
manders then went foward and reconn)i,tred a second 
position near Rejet de Beaulicu, about 1,000 vards 
XVes,t of the Ca.nal. On the 3rd, ordcrs arrived for 
the attack to take place the morning, and at 
5-0 p.m. we moved off in pouring rain thr, ough Vaux 
And,igny to a bivouac pos,ition near the Railway 
North of Molain--a bad match, for the roads were 
verv muddv and hopelessly congested with traPfic, and 
the re.en heavilv laden. It raied hard ail night, but a 
small house for Headquarters, and the usual tcnts and 
" bivvie " sheets kept out some of the wet, and we 
should have bcen far wo.rse in the opeç. Unfortunately, 
2nd Lieut. J. A. Hewson, wh.o had never reallv re- 
covered from his in Mav and had returned 
belote he was fit, had to leave us, unable to stand the 
exposure in such weather. It was verv bad luck, for 
there was never a keener officer. 
At 3--t5 a.m., the Jth, the battle began, and we fell 
in ou-tside Headquarters, having previously had hot 
breakfasts and dis.tributed large numbers of bornbs 
and flares, also a generous supply of sickles and bill 
h.ooks, as the country was reported to be full of 
hedges. We marched at once to out first assemblv 
position, Mazinghien, and at midday, as the battle 
reports were good, moved forxx-ard again, passing the 
Brigadier h the village; he seemed verv cheerful, and 


we saw several droves of Germ,an prisners, so con- 
duded everything must be satis,facto.ry. In order 
to avoid the main roads, the C.O. led us round to 
Beaulieu by a field track which he had reconnoitred; 
u,lfortunatelv the night's tain had ruade the going verv 
heavy, and this hot onlv tired the men, who xvere 
heavilv laden, but als.o proved diflicult for the limbers, 
several o.f which s,tuck and had to be man-handled. 
At Beaulieu we had dinners and rested xvhile parties 
rcc,onnoitred the Canal crossings and disto,vered various 
ponto,on bridges built by the Engineers soon after the 
attack. As no orders came, we waited until s,oon 
after 3-0 p.m., when we were sen, t forward to support 
the 2n.d Brigade o.n the right flank o,f the advance. 
The C.O. with the right h.alf Battal.ion crossed the 
Canal opposite Bois L'Abbaye, and pushed on into the 
village untroubled bv shell tire, which was at the time 
mostlv directed against the left hall Battalion, xvhich, 
with Battalion Headquarters, crossed further S.outh. 
The country beyond was verv thick, and by the time 
the left Co,mpanies reached L'Ermitage it was almost 
dark, and consequently commurications were difficult 
between the two hall Battalions, more particularly as 
the C.O. was separated fvo.m his runners and signallers. 
The Companies at L'Ermitage dug themselves in and 
were fairly comf.ortable, but they xvere n,ot destined 
to remain so for long, fo,r orders soon came that they 
would relieve the 2nd Brigade. These orders, however, 
were can«elled belote being sent out, and instead the 
Brigade was ordered to relieve the 1st Brigade, who 
were on the left. T.he reason for this was that the 
32n.d Division, wb_o xvere on the left off the Co,rps 
attack, had n,ot yet reported the capture o.f all o,bjee- 


rives, and it was consequently necessary to secure the 
1st Divisi.on's left flank. "Vhile, theref,o/re, the other 
txvo Battations took over the line East, we fo.und 
a defensive flank facing No.rth--th.e Battalion being 
orga.nized in depth on a single Co,mpany front. "A " 
Company (Snaith), with "B " Gompany (Pierrepont) 
in ctose support, was a few yards South of the main 
Carillon- La Groise Road; beh.ind them came " C" 
Company (Banwell), while Battali.on Headquarters and 
"D " Company (T. Ball) rem,ained in Bois L'Abbaye. 
These posi,tions we occupied ail n,ight. 
At dawn the following dav the advance was con- 
tin.ued bv the laTth and 139th Brigades who passed 
through us, but, as the .'}'-'nd Iivision had still no 
defin,ite in.formation, we maintained out defensive flank 
position--a ludicFous performance in view of the 
streams of unmolested traflqc which passed along the 
road in fmqt of us. Later in the morning, however, 
" B" and "C " Companies were sen¢ fo,rv«ard to 
occupy the line that the Lincolnsh, ires had held during 
the night, where they round n.o covm" one large 
farm h.o,use whlch the Boche was shelling heavilv. It 
xvas ra,ining hard, and for some time they sat in the 
fields hopi,ng for the tain or the shelling to stop; the 
latter did eventuallv cease, but n,ot until a large shell 
had goe t1rough the roo* of the farm louse, making 
it uninhabitable. During the afterno,on the weather 
became s,o appalling that thev ail moved into bouses in 
Mezières an,d spent the night there, while the remainder 
of the Battalio,n corteentrated in Bois L'Abbaye. 
The bettle still wen.t oen the next da 3" in the pouring 
rain, and o.ur Brigade moved slowly forward in 
Divisional support, halting for d.inners at Erruart, and 


reaching Prisches l.ate in the aftelnoo.n ; our onlv 
excitement throughout the da), xas to watch a batterv 
of 60 pounders get ino difificulties in a muddy field. At 
l'risches we learnt that Cartignies had been cleared bv 
the oher Brigades, a«ad we were accordingly ordered to 
re,ove up at once and take over the outpost line xvhich 
was no«v just Vest of the Petite Helpe river. We 
m.ov,ed off in fours a, the road, and in the same 
formation marched i.nto Cartig, n,ies, a village full of 
civilian.s and blazing with lighvs, although a German 
machine gun less than 400 vards a«vay kept sending 
b.ullets over the main street. No one seemed verv 
certa.i.n the ou.tposts were, nor who was respon- 
sible, so we m,ou.nted some sentries in the best positions 
we could find, an,d soon after m.idn.igh.t Colonel I)igan, 
who. had been to Brigade Headquarters, held a con- 
ference and explained the next dav's plan of attack. 
It was aow obvious that the Boche wa.s in full retreat. 
The weather the next day, the 7th of November, was much better, a.nd xve rnoved down to the 
Petite Helpe soon af.ter dawn. Pa.trols had been out 
duting the night to look for cros,sing's, but bevond 
reporfing that the main road bridge been blown 
up, which we alreadv knew, they gathered no informa- 
tion of importance, so "C " Compan.v, who were 
leading, had to make use of tree trunks and cross as 
best thev could. Hovevr, the E'ngineers soon 
appeared, and the re,s,t of the Battalion crossed bv a 
pon.toon bridge. XVith the French on the right and 
Li.ncoln.shires o,n the left, " D " C;ompany (T. Ball) and 
" C " Company (Banwell) now pushed fo.rward rapidl.v, 
and in spite of a th,ick mist had socm gained the first 
Cxvo objectives and reached the road running North 


and South through a group of house,s called Cheval 
Blanc. Battali,on Headquarters a.nd the right hall 
followed, and a,t mi.dday were quartered in a group of 
farm houses abou.t 600 yards oErest of Cheval Blanc, 
where they were joined bv Capt. Hills, wh,o reCurned 
from leave and resumed his duties as Adjutant. As 
soon as they had had dinners, " A " C;ompany (Snaith) 
and " B " Company (Pierrepo,nt) mo,ved forward so as 
to be in closer support to " C " a.nd " D " Compan'ies 
After pa.ssing the seco,nd objective, the leading Com- 
pan.ies socm beg'an to meet lith opposition, and a 
ma, chine gun cleverly concaled at the next cross-roads 
ruade further advance by "C " Company impossible. 
As the Linco,lnshires were simi[arly hel.d up on their 
left, the tank could n.ot be turned. "D " Company, 
ho,wevr, pushed forward further in the mist, and, 
th.o,ugh there was plenty .of machine gun tire, it was 
unaimed a.nd did n.o damage. The leading Platoon, 
un.der 2nd Lieut. Bettles, crossed a valley and s.tarted 
to climb the rise beyond, on the top of which thev 
expcted to find the main Rod. Suddenly, 
as they burst through a hedge almo,s.t on the road, 
they came upon a German fou.r gun field battery-- 
officers and men standing round their guns, apparently 
not expecoEing anv attack, and horse,s tethered near bv. 
The plato,on rushed in with bayonets, captured or killed 
ail they could find and, led bv 2nd Lieut. Bettles, 
das, hed acvoss the road into s,ome h,ouses on t'he far 
side, where thev saw some enemv. 2¢d Lieut. Bettle.s 
was killed with a pist,ol bullet, but the B.oche were 
driven out, a,nd Lieut. B'a,ll came up and started st once 
to oo.nso,lidate his captu,red positi.o,n. One officer, 29 
xnen and oiht horss were sent down as prisoners. 


" D " Cornpany's position was precarious. Rig'ht 
nd left, Gerrnan rn,achine gunners held the main, shooting along it rn.ade crossing irnpcssible, while 
at the srne tirne thev too.k care Io prevent any atternpt 
on our part to rn.ove the captured guns. This we round 
irnpssible, s,c set about rendring thern usel.ess, and 
had alreadv rernoved breach block and sights frorn one 
when a eounter attack xvas la.unched frorn the S.outh This was beaten off, bu.t Lieut. Ball, unable 
find trccps on either flaaak and alreadv short o.f arnrnuni- 
tin, senr back 2nd Lieut. S. D. Larnrning on a 
captured h.orse to ask for help. Beoa-e, hoxvever, he 
could return, the e'nerny, intent on recapturing his guns, 
rnade txvo more court.ter attacks .in rapid succession, in 
the second of vhich, .after l.csing several rnen, including" 
B,lton, who had neve,r left his Pltn during four 
vears' service, ki'lled and L/Cpl. Thurrnan xvo,unded, the 
little is,o,lated party fired the last of its arnrnunition and 
h'ad to xvithdraw. The Boche recaptured his battery, 
and, a[ter firing ,on.e or two rounds into Cheval Blanc, 
took axvay the guns. 
At 2-0 p.m., Battalion Headquarters lïaoved up to Blanc, but the attac-king Cornpanies still re- 
ported that they were unable to advance, and, to add to 
out difficulties, we were n.ot in touch with the French 
on out right no.r eould out patrols find anv trace of 
thern. On the xvhole of out front the enernv had 
pro.bably not more than eight machine guns, but so 
cleverly xvere they placed and so xvell xvere thev served 
th,at we .tund t impossible to dislodge thern with out 
weapons. Artillerv or better still Stokes rnortars would 
no doubt h,ave cleared the country very quickly, but 
these were nct for ¢he tirne obtainable, so., until thev 


arrived, (ol. Digan determined to m.ake every effort to 
find the F, rench and protet the right flank. Capt. 
Pierrepont ,vas ordered to send out frequent patrols 
toevards Etroeungt, and, as we n,cw Jaad »o Ba.ttalion 
reserve, C;cl. Digan asked f.or txvo Companies o,f the 
4th Battalion to help us. These soon arrived, and while 
one, Cap.t. Holden's, remained with us at Cheval Blanc, 
the ¢)ther, Capt. Scaram.o.xaicz's, took up a defensive 
flank position along the Brigade S'o,uthern boundary. 
Ai lasL just as it was getting dark, Capt. Pierrepont 
repc),rted having round th,e Fren¢h in Etl, oeungt, and so 
this flank was now secure, though it had cost us the 
Joss .of 2nd Lieut. Bvles and Serjt. Stretton who were 
both wounded. In spite of this, the forward Co.mpanies 
were still unable to advance, and we rernained in these 
position.s ail nigh.t. 
In view of the fact tha.t the Boche was n,ow running 
awa.v, our casualties during the dav had been heavy, 
and the Staff therefore decided on a differert plan for 
the next rnorning. The Çavalrv were to cme up at 
dawn and we were hot to rnove un, til thev had recon- 
noitred the o.untry, so that if thev repo,rted the enernv 
still holding out, the Artillerv would be crdered to cover 
,o,ur advance with a small barrage. There was n) doubt 
that the German was continuing and that this 
was onlv a tempora.ry check, for all night long the 
skv Eastxvards was lit up with enorrnous flashes, as 
dumps, railways, cvoss-roads and bridges were blown 
up. This dernolition ,vas one of the rnost rernarkable 
features of the Boche retreat, for h,ardlv a road junction 
in the country vas left untouched, while Railways were 
so cuningly mined that everv single line had to be 
relaid. The consequent delav to our communications 


was appalling, and though, thanks to the Engineers and 
Pi.oneers, o.ur ls:t line Transport alwavs reached us bv 
the evening, and field batteries advanced almst as 
quickly as we did, vet out heavv Artillery was davs 
behind us, and there was alwavs a shrtage of 
As ordered, the Sc.ots Greys' patrols rode through out 
lines at dawn the next da),, Novem.ber 8th, and found 
the enernv's machine gtlns still verv active in the saine 
positions. The barrage was therefore arranged, and, 
covered bv these verv few shells, "A" and "B" 
Companies pus.hed forward, onlv to find that the Boche 
took as little notice of the barrage as he did o.f our 
rifle tire. Osa the left, as before, the at.ack was soon 
held up, this tirne with considerable loss to us, for the 
Boche allowed "A " Company t.o corne close to his 
guns before opening tire. V'hen he did, 2nd Lieut. 
Colesnan and ten rnen were wounded and three rnen 
killed, and thougb the others marie a rnost gallant 
attempt t rush the enemv with the bayone,t, they were 
held up bv hedges, and compelled to dig in once more 
and wait. On the right, h.o,wever, we had be,tter 
fortune. 2nd Lieut. Davies and the leading platoon of 
"'B " Co.mpany reached the Avesnes main road, and 
in spite of verv heavv machine gun tire rnanaged one 
bv one to make their w.ay Once on the far side, 
lhls Platoon Commander, ablv helped bv L/Cpl. Sharpe, 
Pte. Beaver and others, so.on worked his way from 
house to bouse until at 11-0 a.m. the Boche, finding 
we had a firm hold on the main road, withdrexv M1 his 
guns. 'Vhile this took place, Colonel Jerram from 
Divlsional Headquarters visited us, bringing the news 
that the German envoys asking for an Armistice had 
been taken the French lines. 


As soon as they found the had gone, the 
leading Co.mpanies pushed rapidly forxvard, with orders 
to esLablish an outpos.t line along tbe Zorees-Semeries 
road as s.oon as possible, in which position we were 
told we woul.d be relieved bv the 137,th Brigade. At 
the saine time, " I)" Company moved into the ho.uses 
on the Avesnes road near where they had captured and 
lost their batte.ry, and "C " Company occupied the 
farm house wlich had held them up so long, being 
welcom.ed with cofl'ee and cognac bv the in,habitants, who 
had remained in the cellar. .\ troo.p of Scots Greys 
xvas a.lso attached to us t,o act as m.ounted orderlies, a 
task which up to the present had been verv efficiently 
performed bv our grooms--Huntingt, on, Dennis, Rogers 
and others. At dusk, as the leading Cornpanies were a few yards of the Zorees road, 
Battalio.n Headquarters and "C " Cornpany mo.ved to 
the roads on the Avesnes road, and occupied a 
large farm, where the two. attached /th Leices.tershire 
Cmpanies were also billeted. Except for distant ex- 
pl.osion.s in the East, it was a quiet night, and the M.O., 
Ca,pt. Aylward, to prove we were reallv winning the 
war, solemnly went to bed in pyiamas regardless of the 
proximity of the enemy. Soon after midnight, "B " 
Cornpany reached their oetpost line, and a¢ 7-0 a.m. 
the folloxx-ing mrning, "A " Com.pany were also in 
position, and we sent off Lieut. Ashd.wne to billet for 
us in the area to which we were told we shouid go as 
soon as relieved. 
The country here was in a pitlable state, fo,r the 
Germans as thev retired carried off everything--live- 
stock, vehicles, ail food, and most .of the mme popula- 
tion. The civilians that were left behind took refuge 


in t,he cellars during the fightin,g, coming out as soon 
.as the Boche had gone, and bestowing, kisses and cups 
of coffe.e with great liberalitv ,on the leading platoons 
as they entered eftch farm house or hamlet. The feeding 
of all these people had to be undevtaken bv the British 
Army, an,d as our advance continued the French Mission 
were kept very busily employed. 
The Briga,de ,relief was alre.adv in progress when, at 
10-0 a.m., Novembe.r 9th, it was cancelled, and instead 
we were ordered to push forward at once and establ.ish 
a new o,utpost line East of Sa,ins du No,rd--a small 
town through which the Cavalrv had passed in tbe 
morning. The right hall Battalion was orde,red t,o con- 
centrate in Zorees, while the of us with the two 
Gompanies of the th Batt.alion formed up .near Battalion 
Headquarters, had d.inners, and at 2-15 p.m. moved off. 
As we did .o, an amusing inciden.t ,ocurred. A certain 
C;ompany Gommander, picking up his box respir,tor, 
round that he had thrown it off into a patch of filth; 
,oepi.ous oaths followed, and he that he would 
murder the next Boche he sw. Some half hour later, 
as w.e ente-ed Zorees, a cyclist patrol met us, escorting 
one undersized little prisner, spl.ay footed and be- 
spectacled. The Co,mpany was delighted, and with 
one accord hailed their Commander with cries of 
" Noxv's your chance, Sir." No other enemy were 
seen, and we marched straight into Sains bv the Rail- 
way s.tation, to receive a welcome from the civilians. 
which rivalled even F.resnoy in ccrdialitv. Thev 
thronged the streets with flags and great bunches of 
chrysanthemums which they showered .upon us, so that 
'bv the time we reached the Mairie we looked like a 
walkin.g flower showwevery man having a flower in his 


hat. The 4th Battalio,n Co,mpa.ties round the outposts, 
and xve billeted in a large factory w, hich had been used 
as a Hospital, vhile Battalion and Company Head- 
quarters occupied vrious magnificert Chateaux. 
Th,roughout the following day, N,ovember 10th, we 
remained inactive, unable to more because cur supplles 
ard rear communicati,on,s could not at our pace 
owig to the G,erman demolition,s. AIl day l,ong rep.o,rts 
came in from the East showing the hopeless state 
confusion to which the German Army had corne. 
Civilians told us of Artille.ry drawn by cows, airmen 
repo.rted roads congested with traffic and co.lumns of 
troops, it really l,oo,ked as though at 1.ast we should 
have a chance of delivering a cru.shing blow. Late 
th, at night came th.e telegram ending ho,s.tilities, and the 
chance was gone for ever. 



ILth Nov., 1918. 28th June, 1919 
FOR the first feȍ daxs after the sigring o,f the 
Armistice xçe remained in Sai.ns, the outpost line as 
main.tained, roads to the Eas,t x, ere rec.o.noitred, and 
ever.xthing xas ruade re'ad» for a resumpti.o of 
hos.titities. Bu.t if was soon obvi.ous that the Germans 
had no more figh.t in them, and out on,ly interest »as in 
whether or no x*e s.hould form part og the Arm) of 
Occupation. [t xas kn, on that the 4:th Armv was 
going to German., and some o.f us hoped to go xith 
it, but it xças no.t to be, and we ere transferred to the 
:]rd Armx, XI[Ith. Corps. ,Vhen »e »ent, General 
Rahnson, genuindy sort» o lose us from his Arm.x, 
expressed his a.ppredation of out services during the 
past th.ree months, in a fare»dl ferrer, copies of which 
»ere given fo ail ranks. Soon after out trnsfer, e 
mo»ed to the Landrecies area, and x»ent into billets in 
the dirtv little tc»,n of Bousies. 
Out duties were no-x threefold--to clean up France, 
to get demobilised, and to amuse cmrselves in out spare 
rime. Cleaning up was a gigan.tic and not verv pleasant 
task, for i't mean,t filling up shell h.oles, eollecting empt? 
bullx-be.ef tins, and generally becoming scavengers. 
Demobilisa.tion, though more co,ngeial, as at first 


inclined to be slow, and it was with considerable 
annoyance that ve saw among the first to go, .young 
men who had ioined us since the Armistice, because 
thev vere " pivotal." Coal-miners were soon called 
for, and under this heading we lost manv of our oldest 
and best soldiers, so that by the Battali.on 
vas n,o longer the saine. To amuse us, various sports 
meetings were arranged--a,ll rather hampered bv tbe 
weather, though ve managed to gain much credit in 
football and running, while the l)ivisional Rugby foot- 
ball w.o'n flac Corps Championtship. In these gaines 
ve were luckv 1o have the assistan,ce of a new Padre, 
the Rev. H. I'. XValton, who came to take the place 
of Padre Buck. Concert parties beoame more 
numerous, and, in addition to the " V'hizzbangs," who 
worked verv hard, the Brigade had a show of their 
own, kn.oaxn as tB.e " 13,q's." 
Vbile at Bousies we marched one Sunday to 
drecie.s, where H.M. the King paid a visit. It was an 
informal affair, no guard of honour and no lining the 
road, and nne o.f us will ever forget the scene. The 
King of England followed bv his otîicers, ail on foot, 
walking down the little street of the old French town, 
while both payements were packed with soldiers and 
French civilians, who cheered, skcuted, sang and 
rusbed into the roa.d to gain a nearer view of His 
In Janua,ry we moved to Pommereuil, a clean little 
village, where Mavor and people did their utmost to 
make us comfortable. Here, under the n.ew scheme, 
demobilisation became more rapid, and the older soldiers 
were sent home in considerati.on of their ser'ice. We 
also learnt for the firs't rime that the Battalion was to 


be reduced to a Cadre, and all sholît service or retainable 
soldiers would be sent to the l lth Battali,n on the 
Rhine. Before this last more could take place, xxe 
moved again--to Solesmes, where we stayed for a 
fortnigh.t and then moved to St. Hilaire. A new feature 
was now introduced in the " amusements " department, 
which was much appreciated bv all of u.s. Once o.r twice 
a week we were given one or two motor lorries to take 
pavtie t.o Douai, Valencenlaes or the recent battle(ields. 
We had manv pleas.ant trips, and saxv several towns 
in France which we sho.uld never otherwise have seen. 
At St. Hilaire the C.O. left 1.1s t,o rejoin the Co.nnaught 
Rangers, and we were reduced to a Cadre, consisfing of 
rive officers, fortv-six men and th.e C.lours. A large 
draft of 200 all ranks, with Lieuts. Steel, .\shdowne, 
Todd, Dunlo.p, Ar.vle and other officers who voun- 
teered for fmïther service, went to the l lth Battalion, 
and the rest were demobilised. The Cadre was chosen 
so as to include as far as possible V.O.'s, N.C.O.'s, 
and men of long and distinguished service, who would 
form a suitable guard for the Colours ; at tJae saine time 
we IMed to bave representatives of each o,f the larger 
t.owns in Leice.stershire, and in th'ls we were successful. 
In April we moved to Inchv Beaumon.t, where we 
stayed until the Cadre finally went home in June. 
\Vagons and M1 transpo,rt were sent to C.udry, and we 
se:tled down to a wearisome existence, having to.o little 
to d.o. Cricket succeeded football, and xve beat the 
4th Battalion at both, and had several o.ther victories. 
Finally, on the 28th o.f June, leaving Capt. Nich.olson, 
2nd Lieut. Griffiths, R.Q.M.S. Gorse and 11 o.thers with 
the stores, the remnant of the B.aali<)n sailed for 
England, landed at Dover, and reached Leicester the 

HOlXl E AG.\IN. 375,e n.ight. The next day the Mav,r (Ald. C;oltman) 
and people of Loughbo,rough turned o,ut to give us 
welcome, and out long mon.ths of waitin,g in France 
were soon forgotten in th.e ferv, our and enthusiasm of 
the greeting we received, as we marched thro,ugh the 
old ton and placed out Colom's in the Hall. Six 
weeks later t'he baggage guard returned, and the 
Ba,tt.alion wa.s finallv disembodied. 



FEBRt'aRV, 1915. 

Lieut. Colonel C. ll. Joues. 
Major R. E. Martin. 
('aptain and Adjutant W. T. Bromfield. 

Major W. S. N. Toller. 
Captain P. C. J. R. Rawdon 
Lieut. A. T. Sharpe (Machine 
Gun Officer). 
Lieut. J. D. A. Vincent. 
2nd Lieut. D. B. Petch. 
2nd Lieut. J. W. Tomsou. 

'" C " COMPANY. 
Captain T. C. 1 a. Bea,sley. 
Captain ('. Bland. 
Lieut. R. D. Faxmer. 
2nd Lieut. G. Aked. 
2nd. Lieut. G. W. Allen. 
2nd Lieut. R. Ward Jackson. 

"" B "' COMPANY. 
Cal)tain J. L. Griffiths. 
Lieut. A. F. Marsh. 
Lieut. E. G. I angdale. 
2nd Lieut. C. H. F. Wollaston. 
2nd Lieut. ('. W. Selwyn. 
2nd Lieut. }L 13. Farrer. 

" D "" COMPANY. 
t'aptain H. J. F. Jeffries. 
Cal)tain J. Chapman. 
Lieut. A. G. de A. Mo.ore. 
2nd Lieut. R. C. L. Mould. 
2nd Lieut. C. R. Kn, ighton. 
2nd Lieut. J. D. Hills. 

Transport Officer 
Medical Officer 

... Lieut. J. Burnett. 
......... Lieut. A. A. Wor]ey. 
... Lieut. G. ]q. H. Manfield, R.A.M.C. 





J. c. BARRETT.--Pontruet, Sept. 2tth, lgl,q. 

W. S. N. To.ller. J.L. Griflïts. 

M.C. ,': BAI. 
. B. WilliaJs. D.B. Pe.tch. 
G. E. Banwell. J.D. Hills. 

A. G. de A. Moore. A.E. Brodribb. 
M. H. Baron. W.B. Jack. 
t'. H. F. Wll,aston. C.B.W. Buck. 
A. N. Barrowcliffe. S. (L H. Steel. 
T. P. Creed. A.E. Hawley. 
J. B. Broo,ke. K. A,hdowne. 
R. H. Sten, tiford. T.H. Ball. 
C. F. Sh,ields. S.D. Lamming 
W. ]I. Cole. C.H. Davies. 

T. Tunks. A. Wilbur. 

H. G. Sta'buck. A. Pas.more. 
W. H. Hallaln. J.B. Wedr. 
R. E. Small. I'. W. Jordan. 
.l. Emmerson. P. Lane. 
C. Iturley. W. Toon. 
E. M. Hewson. J. Waa-dle. 
J. Hill. lt. G. Lo.vett. 
T. Needham. J. Coo,per. 
A. Bl'ooks. W. Hubbard. 
T. 5[ea'ston. 
M.M. & BAR. 
$. Burbidge. W. Lilley. 
R. Downs. F.W. Gorf. 
A. Thurman. 

H. G. Lovett. 
D.Ç.M. & BAR. 


C. H. Jones. R.E. Martin. 


J. T. Knott. R. Hollingswoïth. k. Hewerdine. 
W. A. Berridge. A.W. Martin. W. Smith. 
H. Beardmore. J.W. Tookey. G.W. Tomblin. 
G. A. Bent. H.W. Stone. L.F. Crocker. 
W. Braybrook. T. Andrews. E. Cooper. 
F. Cl,apham. D. Mackey. H. Edge. 
E. Diggle. H. Whitmore. W. Mouldsworth. 
E. Foulds. G.O. Pickles. S.W. TayloT. 
1. Goodman. .¥. Raven. W. Orton. 
C. B. Love. .I.H. Bullen. W. Powell. 
M. O'Brien. H. Cato. A. Dnniels. 
W. Pickering. .A.H. Culpin. .L Coles. 
T. Slaynaker. A.E. Palmer. A. Holmes. 
B. Staniforth. A. Baker. R.B. Haynes. 
T. H,wkeswo,rt3. P.P. Pymm. G. Emmitt. 
F. Eastwood. E.R. Smith. G. Bedford. 
A. P,ssmore. W. Bennett. F. Smith. 
,l. Meakin. ,l. Balderstone. P. Thompson. 
T. Maa'sh,ll. H. Poll.ard. .l.H. Gaunter. 
H. Dawes. J. Ryder. F. Bindley. 
A. Carr. T. Starhuck. L.H. Fortnum. 
,l. T. Allen. .L Hyden. R. Redden. 
E. V. Woolley. :S. G. Barber. A. ,h,axpe. 
E. Crow. F. Blo.odworth. A. Beaver. 
J. W. Putt. A. Wedge. H. Shepherd. 
A. Hickling. ,. Dawso. T. Parker. 
W. E. Lester. H.B. Garrett. A. Randall. 
. Satchwell. 

$. Cooper. 
W. Fa.irbrother. 

H. Foster. ,l. H. Robinson. 
R. Go'se. N. Yeabsley. 
C. F. Ba.iley. 


C. H. Sortes (2). 
W. S. N. Toller. 
W. TE. Bromfield. 
J. L. Griffiths (2). 
E. G. Langd.ale. 
C. H. F. Wolla,ston. 
M. H. Barton. 
A. G. de A. More. 
$. D. Hills (2). 
.l. Burne,t¢ (2). 
C. F. Shields. 
G. W. Allen. 
T. W. Tomson. 
W. R. Todd. 
F. G. Taylor. 

W. Fisher. 
H. Swift. 
A. A. Archer. 
T. Foster. 
1% Govse. 
W. Aga'. 
42. Brown. 
A. Hurst. 
T. F. Marston. 
,l. Lineoln. 
l v. ,l. Williamson. 



Légion d'Honneur (Officier) C.H. Jones. 
Croix de Guerre (with palm) L.H. Peaxson. 
Croix de Guerre (with silver 
Croix Ce (with 
star) ......... 
Medaille Mil.itairo ... 

A. D. Pierrepont J. Whitworth. 
J. D. Hills W. Green. 
E. Angrave. 

Décoration Militaire 

.... k. Wilbur. 



Major J. D. Hills, M.C. 
Captain G. E. Bnwell, M.C. 
Captain C. S. Allen. 
Captain and Quaa'ternxaster W. A. Nicholson. 

2nd Lieu.t.G.H. Griffiths. 
R.Q.M.S. Goxse, E. L:('pl. Underwood, A. 
Col.-Serjt. Hanson, A.W. ,, Catmter, $. 
Corpl. Lincoln, J. Pte. Le.wis, B. 
Serjt. Yeabsley, N. ,, Cleu'ke, G. L. 
Pte. Hughes, E. Corpl. Baker, A. 
,, Ribbons, F. Pte. Deaco.n, W. 
,, Rvlings, G. ,, Mo.rley, G. 
,, Mutto.n, E. ,, Hunt, G. 
,, Nichols, L. L'Cpl. Tookey, J. 
,, Hewerdine, A. Pte. Wormleiglton, R. 
,, Major, T.O. ,, ,, W. J. 
Bradshaw, R. ,, Myers, J. T. 
C'pl. Bartram, E. ,, Godsm.axk, G. 
Serjt. Sills, R. Corpl. l%Iead, B. 
Pte. Rock, F. L'Cpl. Law, A. B. 
,, Webbs, H. ,, Harris, J. 
,, Rogers, A.A. Pte. Allon, W. 
,, Riley, S. ,, Moul.e, F. T. 
,, Beards, A. Corpl. Goss, J. 
Brampton, T.C. Pte., E. A. 
Si. Rollson, E. ,, Neavers.on, R. 
C.Q.M.S. Hurst, A. ,, Haywaxd, J. Il. 
Serjt. Sl-aymaker, T. ,, Rtcliffe, G.